On the banks of the Upper Missouri River where it crosses the border between Montana and North Dakota, lies Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site.
Built in 1828 as an outpost for the American Fur Company, Fort Union quickly changed the landscape of the region. While it was never a military outpost, Fort Union served as a trading post for furs and goods, particularly Euro-American fur trappers to exchange with the Assiniboine people. Over time it has served as a meeting place, a home for pioneer families, and a refuge from conflicts in the area.
Since 1966 it has commemorated the heritage of North Dakotans and served as a historically accurate representation of life on the Upper Missouri in the 1850’s.
Here are some photos from our September 2016 visit:
Rendezvous at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Each June, Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site hosts a summer ‘Rendezvous’ celebration. It includes more than 100 Rendezvous re-enactors who display 19th Century art, costumes, crafts, and traditional skills. It’s one of the largest demonstrations of its kind in North Dakota and Montana.
Other times of the year, you can enjoy a walk about the Fort, purchase trade goods in the Visitor’s Center or attend a ranger-led tour of the Bourgeois House. Many families and influential businessmen from the American Fur Company lived at Fort Union. Their stories help us understand the hardships and triumphs of 19th century life on the Upper Missouri.
- Located on North Dakota 1804, Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is 25 miles southwest of Williston, ND, and 24 miles northeast of Sidney, MT.
15550 Highway 1804
Williston, ND 58801
- The land Fort Union is on is located in two different time zones (Montana/North Dakota border is the line for Central and Mountain ST). Note that the National Park Service operates the site on Central time.
- The park is open year round, however only some of the exterior sites are open in summer months. The Visitor’s Center, exhibits, and Bourgeois House are open in the winter.
- There is no fee to enter the site.