Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail

An empty canoe on a river beach. The logo for the MNRR Water Trail is on the left of picture.
The Missouri River is a playground, laboratory, a place of learning, a water trail, and home to a diversity of wildlife.

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Welcome to the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail. The reaches of river that comprise this National Water Trail are some of the last remaining natural stretches of America's longest river. Come immerse yourself in some of the many experiences and stories to be discovered along this 148 river-mile water trail and see first-hand how the river earned its historic reputation.

A canoe with red life jackets on a river beach with a river in the background.
The Missouri National Recreational River contains 98 miles of the Missouri River from Fort Randall Dam to Running Water, SD, Yankton to Ponca, Nebraska. The park also includes 20 miles of the lower Niobrara River and lower 8 miles of the Verdigre Creek.

NPS Photo


The Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail extends from Ft. Randall Dam near Pickstown, SD to Sioux City, IA. Most of the Water Trail lies within the boundaries of the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR), a National Park Service unit consisting of relatively free-flowing segments of the Missouri River.

The 39-mile segment extends from Ft. Randall Dam to near Running Water, SD. The 59-mile segment begins just below Gavins Point Dam and ends just downstream of Ponca State Park. The Water Trail covers the entire length of the 39 and 59-mile segments.

Although not part of the MNRR, Lewis and Clark Lake is included within the Water Trail, to allow a connection for paddlers between the 39-mile and 59-mile segments. The Water Trail also extends approximately 20 miles beyond the downstream boundary of the 59-mile segment to Sioux City, IA.

In your own water vessel, you will follow in the wake of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition’s keelboat and pirogues and see some of the plants, animals, and landforms first described in their journals. You will learn the stories and fates of riverboats and their crews that once traveled up and down this same stretch of river, the Cretaceous Period rocks and the creatures fossilized in them, how this river has played a major role in our country’s development and history, how the river has changed course and the surrounding landscapes over time, and about some of the people and living cultures who have called this river and region home for generations. You will also learn about the many partners who work together today to protect and manage this Wild and Scenic River and who have created this water trail for your enjoyment and exploration.


Last updated: February 27, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


605-665-0209 x21

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