Things To Do

Recommendations from Park Staff

We recommend visiting the Missouri National Recreational River Visitor Contact Station to help plan your visit. Watch the park's 18-minute film River of Change, pick up area information and maps, learn about recommendations on where to go and what to see from park staff, and stamp your passport book. Kids and Adults can pick up our free Junior Ranger activity book to complete during your visit.

Activities By Interest

  • Baltimore Oriole flying near a Bald Eagle resting on a branch.

    Casual observers and experienced birders alike can experience the joy of birds and birding in the national park.

  • Boats in the lake at Lewis and Clark rec area.

    Whether you are fishing or enjoying the scenery, boating is a great way to experience the river.

  • Yellow tent illuminated by the light inside. Mountains in the background with stars in the sky.

    Plan an overnight trip or a longer adventure at Missouri National Recreational River.

  • A ranger floats down the river near Green Island.

    Paddle the two free-flowing sections of the Missouri, North America's longest river, a vestige of the untamed American West.

  • Chief Standing Bear bridge overlooking the Missouri River with cloudy skies.
    Scenic Drives

    Enjoy stunning views of Missouri National Recreational River from the comfort of your car by driving the park.

  • Brown sign with icon of person hiking.
    Hiking and Biking

    Hike and bike various trails along the 39-Mile District and 59-Mile District.

Mobile Ranger Station with table full of MNRR information and brochures.
Mobile Ranger Station

Join MNRR Rangers and visit the Mobile Ranger Station. Check the calendar of events to find out where it will be located!

NPS Arrowhead on grey shirt near park ranger gold badge.
Ranger Programs and Guided Activities

Join park rangers on and off the river for programs and learn about the park’s history, wildlife, geology, and more during your visit!

Two turkeys in the MNRR.

Hunting & trapping is permitted within the MNRR in Bow Creek and Goat Island Recreation Areas in accordance with site-specific regulations.



Trip Ideas

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. Parking is available near the intersection of Walnut and Second Street in Yankton, SD. Average visit time: 30 minutes.

Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery
Lots of options including a 10,000 gallon aquirium, public tours, fish feeding opportunities, and 2 miles of hiking trail. Average visit time: 30 minutes for the aquirium and up to 2 hours for the hiking trail.

Explore Lewis and Clark Visitor Center
Stop by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visitor center to learn about the Gavins Point Dam and early history of the Missouri River. The center is located prominently above Gavins Point Dam in Nebraska.

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.

Stroll the Clay County Park Nature Trail
Located south of Vermillion, SD, the 3.5 mile wood-chipped trail can be accessed at the Clay County River Access and in the county park. Average visit time: 60 minutes.


Explore Bow Creek Recreation Area
This 205-acre property is owned and managed by the National Park Service and has a primitive mowed hiking trail that wander through a mixed-grass prairie and cottonwood forest.

Audubon Bend Wildlife Area
Located north of Wynot, NE, is a quiet little grassland located near Bow Creek and the Missouri River. This property is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

North Alabama Bend Wildlife Area
Explore the grasslands and savannas of this wildlife area located south of Vermillion, South Dakota. The property is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Discover Ponca State Park
Visit the Nebraska 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.


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 including historic Fort Randall.

Water Trail
Access the 39- and 59-Mile Districts and to Sioux City, Iowa by using the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail.

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

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge
Looking for birds and other wildlife? Check out this National Wildlife Refuge located north of Picktown, SD.

Niobrara State Park
Looking for open space, rolling grasslands, and scenic views of the Missouri River? Located in the 39-Mile District, Niobrara State Park offers peaceful camping and hiking opportunities.

Ponca State Park
Visit one of Nebraska's premier state parks and 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.

Last updated: August 27, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


605-665-0209 x21

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