Fort Griffin State Historical Site
Built after the Civil War for protection during the Texas Indian Wars, Fort Griffin State Historic Site, in Albany, allows visitors the chance to step back to the Wild West and learn, play and explore where Native Americans, Pioneers and Cattle once clashed on the plains.
Know Before You Go
It’s 15 miles from Fort Griffin SHS to Albany, so make sure you have plenty of gas, food and water!
Since 1948, the State Longhorn Herd has called Fort Griffin home. Young longhorns with hardly any horn at all are scattered along the roadway on the drive up to the Visitor’s Center. To see what the fuss is all about, cross the road over to the camping side. Big, beautiful Longhorns rest beneath the small trees that dot the landscape. One wonders, after a very close view of the these magnificent creatures, what the cowboys were thinking when they tried to move them all the way to Kansas! Seeing them here, on their own domain, gives you a completely different appreciation than watching them herded down E. Exchange Ave in Cowtown! http://www.visitfortgriffin.com/index.aspx?page=877
Maps, pamplets, t-shirts and photographic kiosk await you inside the Visitor’s Center. Adorning the floor is a map of the major rivers of Texas, and the forts along the Texas Forts Trail. Your kids can have one foot on the Trinity and another on the Brazos. Here you can pay your entrance fees to view the fort site and grounds; $4 for adults and $3 for children 6-12. Under 6 was free. If you are lucky, you will be greeted by Jane, who grew up in the area, and has a wealth of knowledge about the history, people and places to go.
The Fort Grounds
Fort Griffin is not the iconic fort behind a tall wall, such as you would see at Fort Parker. Similar to Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, it is spread out over quite a distance. A huge attraction for the kids are the golf carts the fort loans to visitors for use (free of charge). The fort, built after the civil war in 1867, was hastily thrown together using green wood from Cottonwood trees growing along the Brazos River. The boards quickly dried and cracked. Most of the remnants of the buildings are gone, except for the ones built of stone. Prickly pear cactus are abundant, as are giant red ants, sparking the occassional re-enactment scene from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.
Numerous campsites offer RV and tent camping, many with views and access to the Longhorns or the Brazos River. Electrical and water available at all campsites, and bathrooms and bathhouses are conveniently located in the park. A slide and swings, and a basketball pad are situated in the middle of the park. A boat and a smoker are available for day rental ($10/day). The campsites are open 24 hours, a self serve pay station is located at the entrance for after hour arrivals.
Two hiking trails exist in the park, The 3/4 mile Wohaw Trail, and the Mill Creek Nature Trail, 1-1/3 Mile.
You can access the river by a series of steps. Trails, used by people and animals, run alongside the river, providing opportunities for fishing. Watch the water surface for gars, which put up a good fight and are lots of fun for young and old fishing enthusiast! Bass, perch and croppies can all be found in the river. The park offers a boat for rental of $10/day, or bring your own canoe or kayak to paddle along the river, check with the park for current river conditions. Be sure and notice (and point out to your children) the numerous Cottonwood trees that grow along the river, which were so instrumental in the building of the fort.
Fort Griffin Flat Townsite
From Hwy 283, take CR 184 to the recreated Fort Griffin Flat Townsite. Known as “The Flat”, it was the original BoomTown of the West, thought to have a daily population of 3,500. Supported by the buffalo hunting crews, the town lasted only as long as the buffalo. Situated on private property, view Shaunassy’s Saloon, where it is rumored that Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday first met. There is also a blacksmith shop, a jail with prickly pear growing atop the roof, and a wagon yard.
Bridges of Fort Griffin
Old bridges offers some wonderful photo opportunities, and are just fun to explore! Continue traveling past “The Flat” to where the road ends. Once you see the condition of this 1885 Iron Truss Bridge, you won’t want to continue any further! There is also a 1896 Suspension Bridge out on CR 179.
The Fort Griffin Fandangle
Watch the Oldest Outdoor Musical in Texas the last two weekends of June each year at the Fort Griffin Fandangle! Click HERE to read more.
Things To Do in Albany
The Old Jail Art Center on the Shackleford Courthouse Square host festivals and activities for the entire family. Click HERE to read more.
Enjoy a mesquite grilled steak at the Fort Griffin General Merchandise & Beehive Saloon! Click HERE to see their menu and upcoming events.
The Fort Griffin Living History Days offers “1870s military interpretations with artillery, infantry, and cavalry demonstration, authentic stage coach rides, blacksmithing, gun fights, the camel corps, Drummer Boy Ice Cream, live period music by Time Was…, cowboy poetry by Doc Wood, 1800s children’s games, Native Americans, Texas longhorns, and frontier living.” – http://www.visitfortgriffin.com/index.aspx?recordid=417&page=497
For more information, also see http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/forts/griffin/post.html
Fort Griffin State Historical Site
1701 N. U.S. Hwy. 283, Albany
Click HERE to visit their website.
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