Fort Union Trading Post
Fort Union Trading Post
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
The Grandest Fort on the Upper Missouri River Between 1828 and 1867, Fort Union was the most important fur trade post on the Upper Missouri River. Here, the Assiniboine and six other Northern Plains Indian Tribes exchanged buffalo robes and smaller furs for goods from around the world, including cloth, guns, blankets, and beads. A bastion of peaceful coexistence, the post annually traded over 25,000 buffalo robes and $100,000 in merchandise.
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Attractions
2 within 6 miles
See what other travelers are saying
  • EC13091
    Ellicott City, Maryland1,117 contributions
    Visit when it’s not crowded!
    We visited on Labor Day weekend, and it was mobbed! We hadn’t checked their website to know that there was a big reenactment, and as a result we were surprised by how crowded it was. There were good explanations of the trading post’s role in the development of the west, but we found it far too crowded, and therefore after our brief, 30-minute, tour, we retreated. Go when it’s less crowded to enjoy it to its fullest.
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 5, 2022
  • AC97
    North Dakota5,153 contributions
    Exploring Fort Union Trading Post
    Great trip. We arrived at approximately 9:30 am and made our way towards the entrance of the trading post in order to start exploring. There were several informational plaques leading up to the trading post, that explained the significance of the surrounding area, as well as the importance of the trading post. There were also a set of four tipis outside the trading post as well. Once inside, we entered the main house, and were met by an employee inside. There was a small, two room museum inside, that contained many artifacts, along with informational displays about the area we were at. There was also a television that was playing several short clips about the historical significance of the trading post. The employee inside was eager to answer any questions we had. Outside, there were several rooms that we could view on our own, including the trading room, the clerks office, a bastion and a shop. There was another employee inside the trading post room, that was dressed in character, that provided quite a bit of information about the type of trading that took place here, several hundred years ago. He also showed us several of the items that were traded at this post, and the room itself contained many neat artifacts. Warning: There was an insane amount of mosquitos in the area (probably in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions). They immediately started biting us as soon as we got out of the car, and were everywhere. Thankfully, the employee inside had several bottles of mosquito spray, but I honestly did not feel like it helped much. I was still bitten in excess of 10+ times, even after wearing a long sleeve shirt and long pants! We were not able to complete the short trail next to the trading post, because there were hundreds of thousands of mosquitos in the area. Please be prepared with bug spray before you enter. Tip: I recommend spending 2 hours here if you truly want to see everything.
    Written July 9, 2022
  • Conner T
    Altoona, Iowa83 contributions
    A neat little stop
    We made sure to stop here as part of filling our national parks "passport," and learned some interesting history. The ranger/actor in the trading house was very informative. Overall, you're probably going to struggle to spend more than an hour here and it's quite a bit out of the way, but it allowed us to check off our last NPS site in North Dakota.
    Written June 22, 2022
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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alpw
Placitas, NM2,127 contributions
Jun 2021
My husband and I were on a road trip and this was a stop between hotels. We were there early in the morning, so maybe things were not in full swing. The post is small. We were expecting a larger post. The weekend we were there was a reenactment weekend, but most of actors didn't engage with visitors. Somewhat disappointing.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brian Krieger
Shelby, OH318 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
We visited Fort Union from Theodore Roosevelt National Park; the fort is a little more than an hour drive from the North Unit and over 2 hours from the South Unit. I think we encountered maybe 10 cars on the entire drive - seriously this place is in the middle of nowhere. That said, the fort itself is impressive to see. It is very large and has a commanding view of the Missouri River. It is a unique place as it was not primarily a military fort, but rather a trading post and meeting place. Interpreters were nice to talk to; Junior Ranger program was good with added gifts for the kids besides just a badge. Disappointed that the Bourgeois House (the main point of interest) was closed due to Covid - there were literally 6 people at the fort. If you happen to be in the area and have extra time, it’s worth a stop; otherwise, I’d stick closer to Bismarck or Teddy Roosevelt NP.
Written July 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

krogersku
Johnston, IA540 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
We were able to see Fort Buford, Fort Union, and the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Center in one afternoon. The Bourgeois House was closed so there really isn’t much to see or do in the fort. The gift shop was also closed. The fort and house are recreations of the original structures. The views are great. It does give you a sense of the isolation that must have existed on the prairie in the late 1800s.
Written August 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

sakflva
Arlington, VA669 contributions
Jul 2021 • Family
We loved this place. We stopped over bc we went to the north unit of tr. You arrive and at the first room - the trading room. The staff tells you about the place and how it functioned. His description was great. We went into the Other rooms as well. My son did the junior ranger. The blacksmith was working on hooks. He told us about the other smiths who worked there as well. He gave my son a book he worked. We’ll cherish it. What a great little piece of history.
Written July 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lajollabob
Agoura Hills, California60 contributions
Jul 2011 • Solo
I had expected a typical western plains fort, but this trading post suppported by John Jacob Astor for his fur trade is out of this world – I thought the post at Fort Niagara in New York was pretty elegant, but this has it beat hands down. Although it had (and has) a stockade with two blockhouses, it was a trading post, not a military fort. I was astonished to discover that there was no fee for exploring the fort and surrounding land; and the rangers on duty were some of the nicest and most eager to please that I have encountered. Upon walking through the main gate, I stopped in awe at the sight of the magnificent red-roofed Bourgeois (Superintendant's) House. There at the gate is the old trade house, where a ranger gives you an interesting history. The museum and gift shop are in the Bourgeois House. All in all, it was a most memorable visit. Outside are many Indian tipis, and just a short way down the road is old Fort Buford, established in 1866 and worth a visit - It was there that Sitting Bull surrendered five years after the Little Bighorn battle.
Written August 5, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pete7919
Doylestown, PA389 contributions
I visited the fort during a living history night. They had several "acts" where the tours would approach groups of people dressed in authentic period clothing that would recreate different scenes that would be typical of the fort. There is also a great gift shop there. It doesn't have too much junk stuff. It's all good books and some of the typical trade items that would have been found. They even have their own coloring book for kids that tells the story of the fort. What a great idea!

The fort has be rebuilt and while you know it's not the original fort it seems that they did a great job rebuilding it authentically. Everything was kept up well. This is worth the trip if you are anywhere nearby (which isn't likely). This fort is way out of the way and that is also a cool aspect as there are not crowds of people around everywhere.
Written September 14, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve5863
Avon, OH13,020 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
Located in the middle of nowhere, straddling the North Dakota-Montana border, the accurately reconstructed trading post is located on the banks of the Missouri River just upstream from its confluence with the Yellowstone River. Built and owned by the American Fur Company, a fur trading monopoly controlled by John Jacob Astor who became the first multimillionaire in the United States, Fort Union was the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri River from 1828 till 1867.

While a visit anytime to this well done reconstructed fort is worthwhile, and there are living history demonstrations and events frequently, we were fortunate enough to be able to visit during the Fort Union Rendezvous living history event, the largest of the year, held during the third weekend in June each year, with over 100 re-enactors in period dress representing traders, trappers, tradesman and Native Americans demonstrating traditional trades and ways of life.

Admission is free but be sure to bring any food, drink or other supplies you may need as the only facilities nearby are restrooms at the fort. We ended up spending much more time here than we had anticipated, about half a day to experience the site and event fully. We enjoyed every minute and it was one of our favorite experiences during our 10-day trip through the Dakotas.
Written January 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Saskheat
Saskatoon, Canada1,613 contributions
Sep 2018 • Family
We visited in Early Sept on a weekend, unsure of what to expect and were blown away with the whole experience.

For a Fort that has been entirely recreated from sketches on the original site of the fort, they have done an amazing job. Its a NPS attraction without charge for entry. The weekend saw volunteers dressed in period costumes explaining life "back then" in the fort. They had many practical demonstrations such as black powder musket demonstrations, to weaving and buffalo ribs roasting over open flame.

The fort is about 20 minutes SW of Williston and is literally straddling the N Dakota / Montana border. The pavement ends right at the Fort.

This was the best half day activity we did while in ND, so if you like unusual history things, put this on your list. Take a lunch with you as there are really any services there except rest rooms. Plenty of free paved parking in the two lots.

Thanks for reading and if you found something useful in here, please click helpful below. Godspeed!
Written November 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

James and Sandr... B
Lufkin, TX576 contributions
Aug 2016 • Couples
Yes this has a small museum and very small gift shop but it is well worth a visit. We love National Parks, monuments, etc.. and plan our trips around them. What made this so enjoyable was the young man in the trading room who obviously loves his job. The information he gave and the time he took to answer our questions was really marvelous.
Written August 20, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MSWMom50
Modesto, California2,146 contributions
May 2012 • Couples
Visited here last month while vacationing in North Dakota. I love visiting historical places and learning about the areas I visit. This is a beautifully reconstructed fort which details the fur trade on the upper Missouri River from 1828-1867. I learned that this was considered the most important trading post on the upper Missouri River during this time period. There is a visitor center at the Bourgeois House which also includes a museum. I enjoyed seeing the exhibits and also the number of different furs that could be handled. A book store, gift shop is also inside the Bourgeois house. Inside the trade house a volunteer provided information on how items were traded and there were examples of traded items. This is definitely a must see when traveling in this part of North Dakota. The fort is well maintained and a great learning experience for all. There was no cost for visiting the fort.
Written June 28, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Fort Union Trading Post (Williston) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Fort Union Trading Post

Fort Union Trading Post is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM