The complete post guide to Fort Drum - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

The complete post guide to Fort Drum

The instant you get orders to New York, your first question is probably about Fort Drum weather. Well, we’re not going to sugar coat it and say it’s great. Unless, of course, you love piles and piles of snow and don’t care for warm weather. If that’s the case, this is going to be your new favorite installation! Ft. Drum is located in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. The Thousand Islands Region of northern New York offers breathtaking views and a picturesque setting. Ft. Drum is about 30 miles from the Canadian border. The Great Lakes are to the west and the Adirondack Mountains to the east. 

Overview

Home to the 10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum offers training and support to all DoD branches. Each year, more than 26,000 Reserve and National Guard service members train alongside federal, state, and local agency personnel. The post stretches almost 108,000 acres. Its workforce includes more than 15,000 service members and about 4,000 civilian personnel. As for the weather at Ft. Drum, it’s snowy of course! Like other northern parts of the country, the lake effect snowfall means this post sees some of the most snowfall in the entire country. Be sure you bring your cold-weather gear. Summers are pretty mild with temperatures hovering in the mid 70s. 

Ft. Drum Location

This Army post is located in Jefferson County in northern New York state. Being so close to Canada, the Adirondack Mountains and the Thousand Island regions means you’ll never run out of outdoor activities. 

Fort Drum training
U.S. Soldiers with Charlie Company, 3 Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Vermont Army National Guard, move towards an objective on Fort Drum, N.Y., June 22, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarah Mattison)

Directions

If you’re driving, follow I-81 N to exit 48 East. Then continue on NY State Route 342 East. Next, turn left onto State Route 11 and follow signs for Ft. Drum. 

From Watertown International Airport, take NYS Route 12F east, and merge onto Interstate 81 north. Then take exit 48A toward Interstate 781. This will lead you directly to the North Gate. 

If you’re coming in from the west, travel on I-81 then exit at 48A. Merge onto Interstate 781. This road will lead you directly to the gate. 

Traveling from the east is easy. Just take New York State Route 190/Military Turnpike to Route 374 west. Then take NYS Route 3 west and follow to Route 3A. Follow signs to Fort Drum.

Transportation

The easiest way to arrive is via Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport (TBN). It’s on post! 

Watertown International Airport (ART) is a 30 minute drive and Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) will take about ninety minutes to reach the post. You can also arrive via the Ogdensburg International Airport; it’s about 35 miles from downtown. Of course, taxi and bus shuttle services are available. 

If you choose to arrive via Syracuse, you have the option of using the Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room. It’s like a USO and the volunteers there can help arrange ground transit to Ft. Drum. 

Gates and Hours

Lt. Gen. Paul Cajen Gate is on Iraqi Freedom Drive just off I-784 to the northwest of the installation and is open 24/7.  

Mt. Belvedere Blvd Gate is to the southwest, near the town of Black River and is open 24/7. 

Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield and the Gasoline Alley Gates are both on the eastern side of the base along NY Highway 3 and both are open 24/7. 

All the other Ft. Drum gates are currently closed.

rockets at Fort Drum
197 Field Artillery Regiment of New Hampshire fires rockets at Fort Drum in preparation for an upcoming deployment

Contacts at Ft. Drum

ACS (Army Community Service) Family Center (315) 772-6556

AER (Army Emergency Relief) (315) 772-6560

Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) (315) 772-3286

Army Education Center (315) 772-6878 

Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (315) 772-6668

Base Operator (315) 772-6011

Chaplain (315) 772-5591

Child, Youth, School Services (315) 772-8675

Citizenship and Immigration Services / RRP (315) 772-6553

Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (315) 772-5393

Clark Hall / EFMP Enrollment (315) 772-4653

Commissary (315) 772-6581

Connor Troop Medical Clinic (315) 772-2778

Dental Clinic (315) 772-0236

Deployment and Mobilization (315) 772-2848

EFMP Family Support (315) 772-5476

Employment Readiness Program (315) 772-9611

Family Advocacy Program (FAP) (315) 772-6929

Financial Readiness Program (315) 772-0050

Fort Drum Inn & Lodging (315) 773-7777

Health Benefits Coordinator at Guthrie Clinic (315) 772-5111

Hospital Main (315) 785-4000

Housing Services/Army Community housing (315) 772-6668

ID Cards / DEER (315) 772-5149

Information and Referral (315) 772-6557

Information, Referral, and Follow-up (IR&F) (315) 772-6557

Legal Services and JAG (315) 772-5261

Lodging/Transient Lodging (315) 772-5435

Magrath Sports Complex (315) 772-9670

Main PX Barber (315) 773-3240

Marshall Dental Clinic (315) 772-8891

Medical Appointments (315) 772-2778

Military Clothing Sales (315) 772-5813

MP (315) 772-5156

Mobilization and Deployment Program/Army Community Service (315) 772-2848

New Parent Support Program (315) 772-6929

Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF) (315) 772-5393

Passenger Travel / Port Call (315) 772-6385

Personnel Services Branch (315) 772-0645

Post/Division Staff Duty Officer (315) 772-5647

Relocation Readiness Program (RRP) (315) 772-6566

Robert C. McEwen Library (315) 772-9099

School Liaison Officer (SLO) (315) 772-3214

Single Service Member Housing Office (315) 772-6668

Soldier Readiness Center (315) 772-0063

Stone Dental Clinic (315) 772-5576

Temporary Lodging (315) 772-5435 

Veterans Services Representative (315) 772-3307

Veterinary Service Fort Drum (315) 772-4262

Victim Advocate (315) 772-5914

Welcome Center (315) 772-7529

Women Infants and Children-Jefferson County (315) 782-9222

Youth Services (315) 772-6719

Mission and Units

Ft. Drum is home to the 10th Mountain Division. The installation’s mission is to provide “quality installation support to Soldiers and families.” Check out the 10th Mountain singing an old WWII song here

Major units include the 1st Brigade Combat Team, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and the 10th Sustainment Brigade. Additionally, you’ll find the Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB). CAB is most famous for conducting operations using the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook and OH-58 Kiowas. 

Fort Drum history
The installation now known as Fort Drum was dedicated in honor Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, an Army veteran who advocated for military preparedness and contributed greatly to military history in New York. Pine Camp was redesignated as Camp Drum, effective Dec. 6, 1951, and the dedication ceremony was held Aug. 22, 1952, on the installation. (U.S. Army photo)

Ft. Drum History

Ft. Drum is named for Lt. Gen. Hugh Drum. Lt. Gen. Drum is best known for advocating for preparedness. He was the son of a Civil War veteran and grew up as a mil-kid. After his father was killed in combat, Drum abandoned his plans of entering the priesthood and became a Soldier. Read more about his fascinating life here

Back in 1908, the War Department established Pine Camp at the site where Ft. Drum sits today. Some years later in 1935, a 36,000 war game field training exercise showcased mobilization abilities of America’s Army and led to improved war planning for the country’s entrance into WWII. Then, as with lots of existing installations, the camp saw rapid development during WWII and more than 75,000 acres of land were added.

Then, in 1984, the 10th Mountain Division officially reactivated at Ft. Drum. This famed division specializes in mountain warfare. Today, Ft. Drum continues to be a major training center. 

Things to Do Around Ft. Drum

The striking natural beauty of the area around Ft. Drum means there’s always something to do! Fans of the outdoors will never run out of options, especially if you love winter sports. Get those snowboards and skis ready! Make sure your passport is up to date so you can take advantage of being so close to the Canadian border. You’ll definitely want to check out Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. 

Hotels

Because this is such a touristy area, there are plenty of hotels near and around Ft. Drum. 

Best Western Watertown (920) 262-1910 

Candlewood Suites Watertown (315) 629-6990

Days Inn by Wyndham Evans Mills (315) 629-5100

Hilton Garden Inn Watertown (315) 788-1234

Quality Inn and Suites Watertown (315) 788-6800

Fort Drum museum
Fort Drum community members and guests tour the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum after a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 21 celebrating its reopening. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Food Scene

Foodies are probably already aware that America’s beloved chicken wings got their start in upstate New York. But that’s not all this culinary-rich area has to offer. When you think about the food you’ll be eating around Ft. Drum, you should probably just go ahead and picture hearty fare. You’re going to need it to shovel all that snow! Of course you’ll want to eat your fill of authentic Buffalo Wings. No posting to Drum is complete without having a spiedie, either. These zippy sandwiches are made from meat that’s been marinated for days, then grilled and served on a thick roll. Similarly, come holiday season, be sure to seek out a Peppermint Pig. This pink, peppermint flavored candy is a beloved local tradition that includes a tiny hammer you can use to break it so everyone can share. 

Activities

As you might expect, parks and outdoors activities abound at Ft. Drum. Waterworks Park is about 10 miles from Ft. Drum and offers both water views and walking trails. Of course, don’t miss out on Long Point State Park either. There, you can fish, canoe, bike, and boat. If you’re looking for other ideas, don’t miss the Jefferson County Fair. It’s the oldest running fair in all of America, and recently celebrated its 200 year anniversary. In nearby Syracuse, you should check out the Syracuse Polish Festival. This weekend event draws sizable crowds and is definitely your place to get your kielbasa fix.   

Ft. Drum Housing

Housing can be a challenge at Ft. Drum, thanks in part to the area’s rapid growth. New housing construction is underway but be prepared to experience temporary lodging for a while. As soon as you receive orders, call the Housing Office to speak with someone about current wait times. If you choose to live off-post, you should be mindful of two things. One, factor in the heating costs during cold-weather season. Secondly, be sure you do your research about your potential new neighborhood. The MHO can help you choose the best option for you and your family. 

LendLease Military Housing owns and manages on-post housing at Ft. Drum. As you might expect, several neighborhoods are available to junior enlisted Soldiers and their families. Others are mixed and some are for senior NCOs and junior officers. 

Of course, single Soldiers E1-E5 are required to live in the barracks. 

Schools Near Ft. Drum

Unfortunately, there are no DoDEA schools embedded on the installation. However, mil-kids have the option of attending either Carthage Central or Indian River school districts. There are also several charter schools and private schools available. Call the School Liaison Office to discuss enrollment requirements and receive guidance on schools in the area. 

fitness at Fort Drum
A 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier performs a 40 lb. chest press for physical exercise at the Monti Fitness Center on Fort Drum, NY, Nov. 29, 2021. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. Pierre Osias)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some things to do at Fort Drum?

There’s a lot to do in this snowy installation. Check out our Activities section for some fun ideas. 

What’s the weather like in Fort Drum?

Cold and snowy in the winter and mild in the summer. 

What are the best restaurants in Fort Drum?

Restaurants come and go so often, it’s hard to say. But we do cover a list of regional favorites in our Food Scene section up top.

Where Is Fort Drum?

Officially, it’s located in Jefferson County, New York. It’s on the northern border of New York and about 30 miles from Canada.

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