Epic Guide to Fort Stanwix National Monument in New York including things to do, history, how to get to the park, nearby camping and lodging, and more!
Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Fort Stanwix National Monument
- About Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Is Fort Stanwix National Monument worth visiting?
- History of Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Things to know before your visit to Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Details about Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Where is Fort Stanwix National Monument?
- Getting to Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Best time to visit Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Weather and Seasons
- Best Things to do in Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Hiking in Fort Stanwix National Monument
- How to beat the crowds in Fort Stanwix National Monument?
- Where to stay when visiting Fort Stanwix National Monument
- Parks Near Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Stanwix was built in 1758 along a major fur-trading route. Fort Stanwix National Monument is located in Rome, New York near the Erie Canal, and showcases the reconstruction of the fort.
About Fort Stanwix National Monument
The fort was active during the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763. The fort was then abandoned. During the American Revolution, the fort was rebuilt by Patriot forces and renamed Fort Schuyler.
British troops laid siege to the fort for 21 days in 1777 but then withdrew to Canada because of the arrival of American reinforcements.
The defense of the fort led to the American victories at Saratoga which was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
The Willet Visitor Center houses museum exhibits, a historical timeline of the fort, a bookstore, and park film.
This is the best place to start your visit to Fort Stanwix NM. Plan to spend time in the visitor center and also outside exploring the three short trails that circle the reconstructed fort.
Is Fort Stanwix National Monument worth visiting?
When we were researching Fort Stanwix NM we thought we would maybe need an hour to 2 at the park to really experience it.
I am going to fully admit there is so much more to this National Park site than we expected! I feel like even after spending the afternoon at the fort we could do a return visit and learn more.
History of Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument preserves the site of "the fort that never surrendered” during the American Revolutionary War.
In August 1777, Fort Stanwix was under the control of the Continental Army and managed to hold out against a prolonged siege by the Loyalists.
Fort Stanwix was built in 1758 to protect a strategic trade route called the Oneida Carrying Place.
Historically the Carrying Place connected the Mowhawk River and Wood Creek, serving as a path for those traveling between the Hudson River and Lake Ontario.
The fort was under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort when it came under siege from the British and their allies on August 2nd, 1777.
The American forces withstood the siege that lasted until August 22nd. The American victory at the Fort Stanwix National Monument changed the course of the American Revolutionary War.
Why was Fort Stanwix so Important?
Fort Stanwix was strategically important for the British. They needed the fort under British control to gain access to the Hudson River. British General John Burgoyne devised a plan.
Burgoyne planned to create a diversion along the Mowhawk River. Burgoyne created a three-pronged attack plan in what was called the Saratoga Campaign.
Burgoyne planned to distract the Continental Army in the Mowhawk Valley, while the other two divisions converged on Albany, New York.
The campaign of 1777 aimed to isolate the New England colonies from the rest.
As a Patriot stronghold, this would be the first step towards ending the Patriot rebellion. Burgoyne sent Colonel Barry St. Leger into the Mohawk Valley.
Both Sides Prepare
St. Leger made his way through the Mohawk Valley with a diverse mix of forces.
His army consisted of the Iroquois First Nations tribe, Hessian (German) soldiers, and American Loyalists. While the British were plotting their advance to Albany, the Americans were preparing for a possible attack.
Concerned that the British were planning an attack via the Mohawk Valley, the Patriots reinforced Fort Stanwix. Colonel Peter Gansevoort led a force of 600 men to occupy Fort Stanwix.
The Siege of Fort Stanwix
St. Leger arrived at the fort on August 2nd, 1777, with a force of over 1,500 men. St. Leger demanded Gansevoort surrender thr fort. Despite being outmanned, Gansevoort refused. His refusal began the siege of Fort Stanwix.
On August 6th, St. Leger received word that a Patriot militia under the command of General Nicholas Herkimer was making their way towards the fort.
St. Leger sent 800 men to intercept the reinforcements. They ambushed Herkimer at Oriskany Creek.
The Battle of Oriskany
When Gansevoort got wind of the Battle of Oriskany, he sent 250 men from the fort to help Herkimer. As the Patriot forces passed through the British camp, they ransacked it, stealing provisions.
Over 400 Patriots were killed during the Battle of Oriskany, making it one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War. Despite the battle being a British victory, the morale amongst St. Leger's force plummeted.
The British and their allies lost over 150 men during the fight, many of whom were Native American warriors.
The loss of life, combined with the raid on their camp, was a blow to the British and Native American soldier's morale.
After the battle of Oriskany, St. Leger again demanded Gransevoort's surrender, which he refused. As a result, the British intensified their attack on the fort.
On August 8th, they began an artillery bombardment on the fort's northern walls.
After the artillery fire had little effect on the fort walls or its occupants, St. Leger requested the Patriots surrender for the third time.
This time St. Leger threatened to send the Native American warriors into the Mohawk Valley to attack its inhabitants.
Once again, the Patriots refused. Gansevoort did, however, send one of his colonels to request help.
Colonel Willett slipped out of the fort with a small number of men and happened across Major Benedict Arnold and his army.
Benedict Arnold & Misinformation
Arnold was making his way towards Fort Stanwix after receiving word of the horrors of Oriskany.
By August 20th, 1777, Arnold learned that St. Leger planned to extend his siege trenches to move closer to Fort Stanwix.
Arnold, outnumbered by St. Leger's force, knew if they engaged in open combat there was a good chance he would be defeated. Arnold devised a plan that relied on sending misinformation to St. Leger through a Loyalist prisoner.
Arnold sent the prisoner back to the British camp to inform them of the impending attack from a Patriot force numbering in the thousands. Arnold's plan worked. St. Leger believed the prisoner and panicked.
On August 22nd, 1777, St. Leger, aware of the low morale of his forces after Oriskany, chose to abandon his position at Fort Stanwix.
St. Leger's retreat at Fort Stanwix severely hindered the British plan to take the New England colonies.
St. Leger had to go back the way he came to meet up with Burgoyne, who was in desperate need of aid. St. Leger arrived too late to help Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga.
As a result, Burgoyne had no choice but to surrender his army to the Americans. Burgoyne's surrender was the turning point of the American Revolutionary War.
The British defeat at the site, now protected by the National Parks Service, had a domino effect that changed the course of American history.
Fort Stanwix was, then, a fitting place for the first American flag to be flown. The flag had 13 stripes and 13 stars to symbolize the union of independent colonies that would become the United States of America.
Things to know before your visit to Fort Stanwix National Monument
$0.00 - There is no cost to enter the Monument or the Visitor Center
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Eastern Time Zone
Pets must be on a leash at all times. Pets are allowed in outdoor areas of the park but are not allowed in any buildings.
We had great cell service in the park.
Historic Fort Grounds are open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Public WiFi may be available at the park.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
Fort Stanwix National Monument sits in the center of downtown Rome, NY.
Parking is available on W Dominick Street or on James Street on the Fort Stanwix National Monument side of the street.
Parking is also available in the Fort Stanwix Parking Garage on James Street.
Buses, RV's, and other large vehicle parking - N James Street, Fort Stanwix side (heading North)
There are no restaurants available within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park but they can be found nearby.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
Fort Stanwix NM is part of the 2010 Passport Stamp Set.
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are over 170 EV Charging Stations available in Utica-Rome, New York.
Details about Fort Stanwix National Monument
Size - 15.5 acres
Compare the park to other National Parks by Size.
August 21, 1935
In 2021, Fort Stanwix NM had 45,684 park visitors.
In 2020, Fort Stanwix NM had 24,134 park visitors.
In 2019, Fort Stanwix NM had 97,412 park visitors.
National Park Address
100 North James St.
Rome, NY 13440
Where is Fort Stanwix National Monument?
Fort Stanwix NM is located in west-central New York in Rome, NY.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Rochester, NY - 124 miles
Buffalo, NY - 190 miles
Newark, NJ - 253 miles
Jersey City, NJ - 253 miles
New York, NY - 255 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Acadia National Park - 547 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 381 miles
Shenandoah National Park - 433 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 627 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 672 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The visitor center at Fort Stanwix is filled with interpretive displays and multiple video reproductions of what happened at the fort.
Getting to Fort Stanwix National Monument
Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR)
Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC)
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport (ITH)
Greater Binghampton Airport (BGM)
From the West
Take I-90 (NY Thruway) to Exit 33 (Verona-Rome). Turn Right onto Rt. 365 E. Follow Rt. 365, veering left as Rt. 365 merges with Rt 69 at the fork in the road. This will take you over an arterial bridge into the City of Rome. Fort Stanwix NM will be across Erie Blvd. on the right side of James Street. Parking will be in the along the Fort Stanwix side of the street or in the parking garage on the left side of N James St.
From the East
Take I-90 (NY Thruway) to Exit 32 (Westmoreland). Turn Right onto Rt. 233 N. Follow Rt. 233 for 6 miles, and then make a left onto the Rt. 49N/Rt. 69W/Rt. 365W ramp. Continue on Rt. 49N for 0.1 mi. and bear right on ramp to Rt. 49N/Rt. 69W first 0.2 miles, and then 1.2 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 26 (N James St.). Fort Stanwix NM will be on your right. Parking is along the Fort Stanwix side of the street or in the Rome City Fort Stanwix Parking Garage on the left side of the street.
From the North (Rt. 26):
Follow Rt. 26 into the City of Rome (the name will change into Turin Street.). When Turin St. intersects at a "Y" with N James St. turn right onto N James and follow the road down three blocks. On the left you will see Fort Stanwix NM. Parking is along the right side of the street or in the in the Rome City Fort Stanwix Parking Garage on the right side of the street.
From the North (Rt. 46.)
Follow Rt. 46 into the City of Rome (the name will change into Black River Blvd.). Continue down Black River Blvd. Fort Stanwix NM will be on your right, nearly across from the city fire station. Continue to the intersection of Black River and Erie Blvds. Turn right at the next two lights until you are on N James St. There will now be parking to your left in the Rome City Fort Stanwix Parking Garage, or on the right on the Fort Stanwix National Monument side of the street.
Best time to visit Fort Stanwix National Monument
The best time to visit Fort Stanwix is early summer to fall when the weather is comfortable .
Weather and Seasons
Rome, New York experiences warm summers and snowy cold winters.
The warmest weather is from May 25 to September 17th with an average daily temperature above 71 degrees.
The coldest weather is from December 2 to March 13th with an average daily temperature below 40 degrees.
Snow can occur on average from November 6 to April 13th with January receiving the most snow with 8.9 inches.
October receives the most rain with an average of 3.6 inches.
Best Things to do in Fort Stanwix National Monument
We suggest planning a few hours to explore Fort Stanwix NM. We wished we would have planned more time for exploring the fort and visitor center.
Explore the Fort
One of the best parts of our visit was meeting the rangers within the fort and learning more about the history of the fort.
Inside the fort, you can take a ranger-led program and/or tour. Check out a historic weapons demonstration.
Visitors can also check out historic toys and games, join the Continental Army for a day, or enjoy a self-guided tour on their own.
The Junior Ranger program is a great way to learn more about Fort Stanwix.
You can pick up a copy of the Junior Ranger program at the visitor center or print one at home before you leave.
There are a few activities in the book that can be completed outside of the park. This is a great way to start talking about and learning about the park ahead of time.
I would give yourself an hour or two to complete the junior ranger program. It is pretty large but you can choose how many activities you complete based on the age of the participant.
Cell Phone Tour
There are tour stops around the fort that you can call in and learn more about the park. This is a great way to get more info on the history and life at Fort Stanwix.
Hiking in Fort Stanwix National Monument
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
There is not a lot of shade within the fort area. You will want to be prepared with a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes.
You may also want to bring water with you.
The trail surrounding the fort is approximately 1/2 mile long. It is partially paved and includes portions that consist of compacted gravel.
Two of the trails interpret the events of the siege of 1777. The other trail follows a portion of the Oneida Carrying Place.
How to beat the crowds in Fort Stanwix National Monument?
There is a large area for visitors to explore making it easy to move around any crowds.
Where to stay when visiting Fort Stanwix National Monument
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Nearby lodging can be found in Rome, New York.
Hampton Inn Rome - This hotel has a pool, free wifi, breakfast included, and is pet friendly.
There are no national park campground within the park.
Nearby campgrounds include:
Aurora B's Family Campground - Williamstown, NY
This campground offers RV and Tent Sites, a pool, fishing, arcade, and more.
Deer Run Campground - Cooperstown, NY
This campground offers lodging, RV and tent sites, a pool, fishing, cable tv, and more.
Cooperstown Shadow Brook Campground - Cooperstown, NY
This campground offers lodging, RV and Tent Sites, a Pool, fishing, and more.
Check out additional campgrounds on CampSpot.
Parks Near Fort Stanwix National Monument
Women's Rights National Historical Park - 85 miles
Saratoga National Historical Park - 110 miles
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site - 129 miles
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site - 172 miles
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site - 170 miles
Check out all of the New York National Parks along with neighboring National Parks in Vermont, National Parks in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania National Parks, New Jersey National Parks, Massachusetts National Parks, and Connecticut National Parks