1851 N. Minnesota Ave.
St. Peter, MN 56082
(507) 934-2160 | traversedessioux@mnhs.org

Alert: Partial trail closure due to trail damage. Do not cross barricades.

On the self-guided tour, the trail signs introduce you a portion of the 10,000-year-old Minnesota River Valley. While enjoying a quiet walk through the site, learn more about Dakota Indian culture, the 1851 Treaty and its effects on people, transportation, the fur trade, and the townsite of Traverse des Sioux.

The Dakota Indians called this place Oiyuwege, meaning “the place of crossing.” French explorers called it Traverse des Sioux or “crossing place of the Sioux.”

For centuries, Traverse des Sioux has been a crossroads and meeting place for people of many cultures. First, the American Indians gathered here to hunt and traverse the river using the shallow crossing. During the 1800s, they were joined by Europeans who came here to trade furs and farm the fertile prairie.

In 1851, the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of the Dakota Indians. This treaty opened millions of acres to land-hungry settlers and speculators. The thriving town of Traverse des Sioux was soon established. It had five taverns, two hotels, several churches – some 70 buildings and a population of about 300. In 1856, nearby St. Peter was chosen as the county seat, and by 1869, nothing was left of the once-booming town of Traverse des Sioux.

Visit us


  • May through October
  • Dawn until dusk
  • Check the Events page for holiday and seasonal programming.


  • Free for trails
  • Different fees may apply for special events

Field trips

Managed for the Minnesota Historical Society by the Nicollet County Historical Society.