Things To Do

There are a lot of things to do during your visit including kayaking on the river.


Recommendations from Park Staff


2 Hour Visit

Walk the Historic Meridian Bridge
The bridge allows you to cross from South Dakota to Nebraska while offering splendid views of the Missouri National Recreational River. The bridge also connects to the City of Yankton Forest Tract with hiking trails that lead to the river. Average visit time: 30 minutes.

Visit Mulberry Bend Overlook
Great view of the river and sandbars from the overlooks. A paved trail takes visitors from the parking lot to several interpretive wayside exhibits that define the natural and cultural history of the river. Continue your journey by exploring a bur oak forest on the Nature Trail. Average visit time: 30 minutes. Nature Trail may take 60 minutes.

Hike to the top of Spirit Mound
One of only a few places left in the nation where you can stand in the exact same place as the Lewis and Clark expedition on August 25, 1804. Average visit time: 30 minutes.

Half Day Visit

Explore Bow Creek Recreation Area (ROAD leading to the area is closed until further notice)
This is the largest property under the administration of the Missouri National Recreational River. Hike the trails through mixed grass prairie and cottonwood forests.

Discover Ponca State Park
Visit the state park and check out views of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa from the scenic overlooks while looking down at the exact point where the Wild and Scenic Missouri River beings. Make sure to visit the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center in the park to learn more about the Missouri National Recreational River through exhibits.

Paddle the 59-mile district
Short half day trips via kayak or motorboat include Clay County Park to Mulberry Bend, and Riverside Park in Yankton to St. Helena.

Full Day Visit

Visit the National Park Headquarters
We recommend a visit with us to help plan your day. This includes talking to National Park Service staff, picking up area information and park maps, stamping your passport book, and much more. Kids and adults can pick up a Junior Ranger activity book to use as they explore the park.

Driving Tours
Discover the park via motorbike, bike or vehicle by traveling on the back roads along the Lower Niobrara River Valley or the South Dakota side of the 39-mile district. These roads will take you back in time to view dramatic scenic vistas while also learning about the complex history of Native Americans and homsteaders in a land it seems time forgot.

Catfish, walleye, sauger, paddlefish, and many more game species await your angling skills within the Missouri River.


Activities By Interest

Ranger Programs and Guided Activities
Learn more about the nature, science, history, and culture of the Missouri National Recreational River with a park ranger as your guide.

Boating and Canoe/kayaking
Enjoy the many opportunities to see the 39-mile and 59-mile reaches of the Missouri National Recreational River by boat or canoe/kayak.

Hiking & Biking
The park offers 10-minute walks to 3-hour hikes. The area is also bike friendly with an extensive paved network of bike paths within the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area.

Spend a night primative camping or at any of our partner sites adjacent to the national park.

Last updated: April 18, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


(605) 665-0209

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