Things To Do

There are all kinds of things to do while visiting Missouri National Recreational River.  NPS Photo.

NPS Photo

Missouri National Recreational River is a destination for over 150,000 visitors each year. The hardest part may be choosing which boating access, fishing spot, scenic drives or overlooks or camping areas to explore!


Recommendations from Park Staff

2 Hour Visit

Hike 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.

Visit Mulberry Bend Overlook
Read the wayside exhibits about the natural and cultural history of the Missouri River in this area. Afterwards hike the Mulberry Bend Nature Trail across the property through bur oak forest.

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 with a historic hike.

Half Day Visit

Visit Bow Creek Recreation Area
This is the largest property under the administration of the Missouri National Recreational River. Hike the trails across this bottomland and through mixed grass prairie and cottonwood forests.

Explore 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!

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

Full Day Visit

Visit Us at Park Headquarters
We recommend a visit with us to help plan your day. This includes talking to National Park Service staff of basic park information and maps, hiking trails, camping, stamping your passport book, and much more. Kids 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.

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

Other Popular Destinations and Activities

Mobile Ranger Station interior

Visit the Mobile Ranger Station
A visitor center on wheels, the Mobile Ranger Station travels throughout the Wild & Scenic River corridor and to local communities. In between traveling to special events and programs, the Mobile Ranger Station may be found near the Meridian Bridge in Yankton, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday through Friday, June through August.

Things to do - Ranger Programs Thumbnail

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

Birding - Things to do Thumbnail

The Missouri River is one of the major North American migratory waterfowl flyways, making it a favorite destination for birders and birdwatchers.

Boating Things to do - Thumbnail

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 Things To Do Thumbnail

Hiking & Biking
The park offers a list of hiking opportunities consisting of 10-minute walks to up to 3-hour hikes. The area is also bike friendly and offers 30-minute rides to all-day adventures.

Camping Things To Do - Thumbnail

Spend a night camping at one of the Park's primitive campsites or at any of our partner sites adjacent to the national park.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


(605) 665-0209

Contact Us