The Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site is a place filled with history. Many battle reenactments have relived the events that took place on Sept., 27, 1864. Visit the fort, bring a picnic, and immerse yourself in Civil War history.

Fort Davidson was originally equipped with siege guns similar to this pair now displayed near the fort.
Photo by Ben Nickelson

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site

ONE OF THE BLOODIEST BATTLES in Missouri took place at the Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site on September 27,1864. Your tour here should begin in the visitor center, equipped with an audiovisual program telling the story of the battle that marked the beginning of the end for Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Sterling Price. He made the fateful decision to attempt a frontal assault on Fort Davidson rather than leave this enemy fort on his flank, during his march toward St. Louis. But Union Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing Jr.’s troops hung on during the day and then sneaked away during the night, blowing up the cov- eted powder magazine before they fled.

Photo Courtesy of Missouri State Parks.

You can see a fiber-optic battle map as well as other exhibits and artifacts, including a Confederate six-pounder cannon that had been dragged to the top of Shepherd Mountain only to be hit before it could be fired.

Courtesy of Missouri State Parks.

The approach to the fort is over a pleasant walking path. From the path toward the fort, the strategic nature of the narrow notch in the mountains becomes apparent. The mass of Shepherd Mountain looms ahead, blocking the horizon, while the jaggedtoothed summit of Pilot Knob rears up behind. 

The Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site features hiking trails, a picnic area, a playground, and information center, interpretive programs, or site tours.

118 Maple St, Pilot Knob

77 acres

Iron County Trail
• Brogan’s Trail (0.5 mi)

Historic Structure
• Earthwork fort

On Sept. 30, 2023 Take a historic driving tour of the site with interpreters along the way. Click here for more information. 

Read about more adventures in Arcadia Valley here.

To purchase the Missouri State Parks book, click here.