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South Dakota Tourism

South Dakota & Nebraska

Camping along the Missouri River

South Dakota Tourism


Kayaks on the Missouri River

For more details about all the Missouri National Recreational River offers, contact the communities and attractions listed in this brochure or visit Cover: Missouri River, photo by J. Nabb

Brochure design by Southeast South Dakota Tourism • 1-888-353-7382

the river

M. Forsberg, Nebraska DED


Top photo: Rafting at Niobrara State Park. Right center photo: Ponca State Park along the banks of the Missouri River. Top Inset: Fishing on Lewis & Clark Lake. Left Inset: Trail rides at Niobrara State Park.

J. Nabb, Nebraska DED


The Missouri River and surrounding area serve as an outdoor recreation mecca. Some of the more popular activities are: Boating (and sailing on Lewis and Clark Lake). Canoeing -- Canoeing and kayaking the Missouri River are not for the novice. Fishing -- Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill and catfish are popular catches. South Dakota and Nebraska fishing regulations apply. Camping -- Full service campgrounds on both sides of the river. Primitive camping only is allowed on sandbars and some islands. Hiking and biking -- Most of the state parks along the "rec river" corridor have a variety of recreational trails. Birdwatching -- The Missouri River is the major North American migratory waterfowl flyway. Hunting -- In season hunters take pheasants, geese, ducks, quail, turkeys and deer. Both South Dakota and Nebraska state hunting regulations apply. M. Forsberg, Nebraska DED

The Missouri National Recreational River preserves two stretches of the Missouri River. Forming much of the border between South Dakota and Nebraska, it is also part of the nation’s Wild and Scenic River system. Congress added the 59-mile reach between Gavins Point Dam and Ponca State Park in 1978 and the 39-mile reach, which includes the lower 20 miles of the Niobrara River and the lower 8 miles of Verdigre Creek, between Ft. Randall Dam and Running Water in 1991. In the eastern reach, the "Big Muddy" is vast, spectacular and unique, flowing fast past chalk bluffs, some 100 feet high. The river valley is as wide as two miles in some places, a testament to the twists and turns the river has taken over the last several thousand years. Islands, bars, and chutes attest to the river’s dynamic character. The river in the western reach is more than 20 feet deep, with thick groves of willow and cottonwood trees growing on numerous islands and sandbars. Limestone bluffs rise 250 feet over the untamed river. The main channel twists and turns in gnarled braids from one shore to the other, and the river flows slower, sometimes as slow as a lazy two miles per hour. Native floodplain forests, tall and mixed grass prairie remnants, and the rivers and tributaries themselves provide habitat for several endangered and threatened bird and fish species.


M. Forsberg, Nebraska DED

OutDOOr ActivitieS

NeArby AttrActiONS AND cAmpgrOuNDS

Dakota Territorial Museum - Yankton, SD. Features an extensive collection of rare memorabilia of early life in the Dakota Territory, an old railroad depot, a caboose, and a one-room country school. No admission charge. 605/665-3898 Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium - Near Yankton, SD. The hatchery raises a variety of fish from the endangered pallid sturgeon to the common bluegill. The aquarium displays over 60 native and introduced species. No admission charge. 605/665-3352 Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex - Recreational opportunities for boating, hiking, birdwatching and hunting. Lewis and Clark Lake State Recreation Area - Nebraska side of Lewis and Clark Lake. It features camping and a variety of outdoor recreation. Park entrance fee. 402/388-4169 Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area - Near Yankton, SD. Encompasses nearly 1,100 acres. Marina, camping, cabins, miles of paved and multi-use trails, resort, restaurant, and much more. Park entrance fee. 605/668-2985

Ponca State Park - 2,100 acres of heavily forested bluffs at the eastern gateway of the “rec river”. Missouri National Recreational River Education and Resource Center, camping, cabins, horseback riding, and outdoor recreation. Park entrance fee. 402/755-2284 Spirit Mound Historic Prairie - Near Vermillion, SD. This new state park is a prime location along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. 300 acres of prairie are being restored. There are interpretive signs and a 3/4-mile hiking trail to the summit. No admission fee. 605/987-2263 Springfield State Recreation Area - Located 1 mile east of Springfield. Camping, fishing, waterfowl hunting and an adjacent nine-hole golf course. Park entrance fee. 605/668-2985 W. H. Over Museum - Vermillion, SD. State's largest collection of natural and cultural history items. Exhibits on American Indians, settlement of the Dakotas in the mid-1800s, and on the plants, animals and environment of the region. 605/677-5228 Below: Bluffs at Lewis & Clark Lake. Right: Kayaking on the Missouri.

South Dakota Tourism

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park - Northeast Nebraska. Barrel-bodied rhinos, three-toed horses, llama-like camels, and sabertoothed deer are entombed in a volcanic ash deposit. Park entrance fee. 402/893-2000

Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway - Nebraska. This route meanders alongside the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers where steep bluffs and tree-shrouded slopes give way to lush, rolling green hills. 402/755-2534

South Dakota Tourism

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve - Near North Sioux City, SD. 1,500 acres along the Missouri River. Over seven miles of hiking/biking/ cross-country skiing trails. Visitor center, wildlife viewing blinds, restored historic structures. Park entrance fee. 605/773-3391

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail - Nebraska and South Dakota. Sites on both sides of the river highlight Lewis and Clark’s epic journey. Campgrounds Lewis and Clark Visitor Center Located on Nebraska Hwy. 121 just over 4 miles west of US 81. The center overlooks Gavins Point Dam, Lewis and Clark Lake. 402/667-2550 Niobrara State Park - 1,200-acre park situated at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers. Visitor center, camping, cabins, horseback riding, and and outdoor recreation. Park entrance fee. 402/857-3373

The Corps of Engineers operates two campgrounds close by: Cottonwood and Tailwaters. Both are in Nebraska. Reservations can be made at 1-877-444-6777 or online at South Dakota State Recreation Areas with camping include: Chief White Crane Recreation Area (RA), Lewis and Clark RA, Pierson Ranch RA, Randall Creek RA, and Springfield RA. Reservations can be made at 1-800710-2267 or online at Park entrance fee. The state of Nebraska operates campgrounds in Lewis and Clark Lake State Recreation Area, Niobrara State Park and Ponca State Park. Reservations can be made at (402) 471-1414 or online at Park entrance fee.

missouri river corridor contact information

regiONAl tOuriSm OfficeS

NebrASkA cONtActS

Southeast South Dakota Tourism 1-888-353-7382

Butte Community Club 402-775-2426 •

Northeast Nebraska Travel Council 1-888-371-2932

SOuth DAkOtA cONtActS Avon Chamber of Commerce 605-286-3919 Elk Point Commercial Club 605-356-2043 • Lake Andes Development Committee 605-487-7694 • North Sioux City 605-232-4276 • Pickstown City Offices 605-487-7553

City of Creighton 402-358-3557 • City of Crofton 402-388-4766 • Hartington Area Chamber of Commerce 402-254-6357 • Lynch 402-569-2706 • Village of Newcastle 402-355-2370 • Village of Niobrara 402-857-3565 • City of Ponca 402-755-4165 •

Springfield Chamber of Commerce 605-369-2309 •

South Sioux City CVB Convention and Visitors Bureau 866-494-1307 • 402-494-1307

Tabor Area Chamber of Commerce 605-463-2476 •

Spencer Village Office 402-589-1038 •

Tyndall Chamber of Commerce 605-589-3904 •

Village of Verdigre 402-668-2621 •

Yankton Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-888-1460 •

Village of Wynot 402-357-2429 •

Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce 1-800-809-2071 Wagner Chamber of Commerce 605-384-3386 •

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks 1-800-710-2267

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission 402-471-0641

US Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds (Cottonwood and Tailwaters)

Missouri River Corridor  
Missouri River Corridor  

Map and guide to communities along the Missouri River Corridor - Missouri National Recreational River