Come explore the unique gem that is Benson County. With exciting activities and events taking place all year round there is truly something for everyone, no matter your age or interest. We look forward to welcoming you!
Buffalo Lake Recreation Area is located 5 miles from Esmond, ND. You can relax, camp, and enjoy the beautiful lake.
3510 41st NE
Esmond, ND 58332
Devils Heart Butte
Devil's Heart Butte is a mountain summit in Benson County in the state of North Dakota(ND). Devils Heart Butte climbs to 1,657 feet(505.05 meters) above sea level. Devils Heart Butte is located at latitude - longitude coordinates of N 47.933888 and W -98.857337 approximately 2 miles from Wood Lake in Benson County.
Located on the southeastern edge of the town of Fort Totten, this site preserves a military post built in 1867 and used continuously as a military reservation until 1890 when it became a boarding school for Indian children. The brick buildings, which replaced an earlier log fort, appear much as they did when built of locally made brick in 1868. Original buildings are now being used to house museum exhibits.
Fort Totten served American Indian policy from 1867 to 1959. Constructed as a military post, it became an Indian boarding school, Indian health care facility, and a reservation school. Initially, the fort policed the surrounding reservation. The soldiers enforced the peace, guarded overland transportation routes, and aided Dakota (Sioux) who lived near Devils Lake after 1867. Fort Totten was decommissioned in 1890.
On January 5th, 1891 the former post became the property of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The post served as an Indian boarding school until 1935. Academic and vocational training prepared Indian youth for life off the reservation. Enrollment sometimes topped 400.
For four years (1935-1939) the site was used as Tuberculosis Preventorium run by the Federal Government. This successful program was aimed at small groups of Dakota children who had or were susceptible to Tuberculosis. They were taught basic studies as well as being treated for Tuberculosis.
When this program was shut down, the site returned to being a Community and Day School for the Reservation with gradually more input and control being given to the Tribal leaders of the Reservation.
Fort Totten became a North Dakota State Historic Site in 1960 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
417 Calvary Circle
Fort Totten, ND 58335
Grahams Island State Park
Grahams Island State Park is located on the ever-changing shores of Devils Lake. This hidden treasure is heavily wooded and surrounded by miles of lakeshore. Campers will enjoy the large shaded campsites, in one of the only nonseasonal campgrounds in the area.
The unique landscape of the lake makes it a hot spot for world-class fishing. The park hosts numerous national and regional fishing tournaments during the year. Grahams Island caters to anglers with an array of resources including a bait shop, a four-lane boat ramp, and a fish cleaning station.
Visitors can enjoy a day on the lake, take a stroll on the hiking trails, swimming at the beach or hang out at the visitors center. In the winter, visitors can explore over 3 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, explore the park on snowshoes and have excellent access to the lake for ice fishing activities.
152 S. Duncan Road
Devils Lake, ND 58301
In early 1930's a ski jumping hill was constructed at White Horse Hill, a game preserve south of Devils Lake in North Dakota, and inaugurated on 26 December, 1932.
The ski jump was operated for a few decades and most famous ski jumpers competing on it were Olympic Game participants Casper Oimen and Peder Falstad.
Still today the steel-made inrun structure is visible.
Palmer’s Spring State Historic Site, near Esmond, Benson County, marks the location where on August 23, 1868, six soldiers from the 31st Infantry and two civilian scouts escorting a mail wagon stopped for their midday rest and were attacked by Yankton and Blackfeet Native Americans. The Native Americans launched their attack from behind a large, limestone boulder, and three of the soldiers were killed in the first two volleys. Two other soldiers escaped to the safety of an earthen bank near the spring, and a civilian scout survived by hiding behind a wagon wheel. Another civilian scout Frank Palmer, and a soldier teamster had taken a horse to the spring for water and escaped the initial attack.
When Palmer and the teamster heard the commotion, they ran to the bluff above the spring where they fired at the Indians. The Native Americans were riding off on the soldiers’ mules when two of the soldiers, the ones who had hidden in the spring bank, recovered their weapons and fired at them.
After the Native Americans withdrew, Palmer rode the one remaining horse to Fort Totten to get help. The surviving soldiers hid the mail and surplus arms and followed on foot. A relief party was dispatched from Fort Totten on August 24, 1868, and succeeded in recovering the wagon, mail, and supplies. The bodies of the dead were also taken back to Fort Totten for burial.
Palmer’s Spring, the site of the battle, shows little change after the passage of more than a century. The limestone boulder surrounded by prairie grass stands at its original location. Frank Palmer, for whom the spring was named, spent the remainder of his life in the Fort Totten-Crary area and served as a delegate to the original North Dakota Constitutional Convention in 1889.
11 miles southeast of Esmond, ND
There’s a world of excitement and fun waiting for you at Spirit Lake Casino and Resort. Enjoy the widest variety of gaming action in the state, luxurious accommodations, superb dining and top-name entertainment, all on the scenic shores of beautiful Devils Lake in central North Dakota. Catch the winning spirit at Spirit Lake Casino & Resort.
7889 Highway 57
St. Michael, ND 58370-9000
The Totten Trail Historic Inn was originally used as housing for officers and their families during the military fort’s peacekeeping days from 1867-1890, then as employee housing during the Indian Boarding School era from 1891-1960. Today, this grand building has been renovated into the tranquil Totten Trail Inn, each room carefully decorated to represent the era from 1870-1910. It offers a unique opportunity to experience life as it was on the plains of North Dakota.
PO Box 224
Fort Totten, ND 58335
White Horse Hill National Game Preserve is a 1,674-acre national wildlife refuge sitting on the south shores of Devils Lake, about 10 miles south of the city of Devils Lake, North Dakota. The refuge was first established on April 27, 1904, as a national park. It was designated by congress as a big game preserve in 1914 and later transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1931 to be further set aside as a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and wildlife. The Preserve supports a unique community of habitats such as an oak, ash, basswood, and aspen woodland; and mixed-grass prairie, interspersed with some natural and created wetlands.
2107 Park Drive
St. Michael, ND 58301