Fort Owen State Park

Fort Owen State Park

Travel 25 minutes south of Missoula, MT and into Stevensville, MT to Fort Owen State Park. Here you will find the remains of the oldest pioneer settlement in the State of Montana.

A beautiful place to visit, however, Fort Owen State Park is currently under major construction.

Fort Owen State Park

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Originally home to the first Catholic Church in Montana, founded by Father DeSmet in 1841, Fort Owen has a rich history and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Here are some of our favorites when visiting Fort Owen State Park:

  • Check out the museum!
  • Capture the historical significance through photography!
  • Enjoy your picnic with amazing views.
  • Don’t forget your binoculars if you plan to do any wildlife and bird watching!
  • Visit the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife refuge just down the road.
  • Visit nearby Stevensville and the St. Mary’s Mission.
  • Plus so much more!

Fort Owen served as an important trading hub for Western Montana for over 20 years. However, when the Mullan Road was built in 1863, connecting Fort Benton to Walla Walla, Washington, it became the main transportation route and bypassed Fort Owen, going north through Missoula instead. This property has passed through many hands, one acre surrounding the remains of the fort was given to the Fort Owen Historical Association in 1937. In 1956 they conveyed it to the state of Montana for one dollar.

In addition to its many firsts, it also was the first recorded land transaction in Montana and contains the oldest constructed buildings in the State of Montana. Today you can tour one of the barracks that served as John Owen’s home and library, see the outline of the fort’s walls, a reconstructed root cellar, the well-house and a historic cabin. The rooms in the east barracks feature period furnishings and artifacts and visitors will find interpretive signs and exhibits which detail the region's history.

Did You Know

Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Wonderful Place. Every One Must Go."

"Nice historical monument. Nicely kept."

"What a neat little place full of Montana history. We stopped in to see Fort Owen State Park while we were in the Stevensville area visiting. It’s not a big place so you won’t spend much time here. There are some good lessons in history walking through the buildings."

"Lots of information. Great for families. Lots of information without over doing it. Informative and fun."


Quick Facts
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    March 1 - October 31:   9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

    November 1 - February 28:  Closed for the Winter

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    99 Fort Owen Ranch Rd Stevensville, MT 59870

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