Lewis & Clark Recreation Area in South Dakota
Camp South Dakota: We are talking with Shane today about the camping opportunities at Lewis & Clark Recreation Area. How are you doing today?
Shane: I’m doing wonderful.
Camp South Dakota: Perfect. Well, we can kind of get into the questions we had for you. When was Lewis & Clark Recreation Area started?
Shane: The campground actually started in 1967. About ten years after the Gavin’s Point Dam was constructed and created Lewis & Clark Lake.
Camp South Dakota: Oh, perfect. So, certainly been around for a little while.
Shane: Yes. And through the years there were several development phases. Early in the ’80s and then in the early ’90s, and then recently in the 2000s here we added some sites. So, all together we have 419 campsites in the Park.
Camp South Dakota: Wow, that is quite a bit of camping that you can do there.
Shane: Yes, it is.
Camp South Dakota: Wow. So, when people are there for the weekend, camping, what are usually the most popular activities in the Park?
Shane: The most popular are the water activities when the weather is nice. There’s a lot of skiing, jet skiing, tubing, and we have two main swimming beaches in the Park. And there are some motor beaches where people can pull their boats up, load people on, and let people get off, and you can also swim in those beaches too.
Camp South Dakota: Cool. And do you guys have some hiking trails and that type of stuff as well?
Shane: Yes, we have five miles of hiking trails. Four miles is a multi-use trail, which features travel for horses, bikes, and hiking, and then we also have a nature trail that’s one mile long and that is just for hiking purposes.
Camp South Dakota: Perfect. And so, where is Lewis & Clark Recreation Area located?
Shane: Lewis & Clark is located five and a half miles west of Yankton, on Highway 52. And the Park runs along the highway and the shores of Lewis & Clark Lake and it’s about two and a half miles long.
Camp South Dakota: Okay. And so, when people are there for the weekend and they’re maybe looking to venture out a little bit, what are kind of some of the attractions in the area?
Shane: One other thing I should mention. At Lewis & Clark we also have a long bike trail that connects with the city of Yankton. That’s six and a half miles of paved trail in the Park, and it runs through Pearson Ranch, which is just the road aways and then into the town of Yankton and connects with their trail system. Also, we have the Core of Engineers Visitor Center located across the Gavin’s Point Dam. And the National Fish Hatchery, which is also located along Highway 52, two miles east of the Park.
Camp South Dakota: Perfect. And then I’m sure in Yankton there’s plenty. A few places to dine or do some shopping.
Shane: Yeah, there are plenty of places to eat in Yankton. There are also other activities such as the Dakota Territorial Museum, some historic homes, and a lot of antique shops downtown. We have a mall and some major stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Menards in town.
Camp South Dakota: Awesome. And so, kind of coming back to the campground, what are the campsites like? Are there areas for RVs and tents?
Shane: All of our campsites are paved within the three parks, which include Lewis & Clark, Chief White Train, and Pearson Ranch. And they feature electricity. You can tent on the sites and you can also pull in an RV, whatever you would like. Most of our campsites are 15 feet wide. The actual pads are 15 feet wide and about 70 feet long.
Camp South Dakota: Okay. And are some kind of in wooded areas and some more open?
Shane: Yeah, some are the recent additions. The trees aren’t quite mature, so there’s a little more sun areas you might want to camp in the spring or fall. They let more sun in. And then, in the summertime, the places to go are where the matured trees are.
Camp South Dakota: Yeah.
Shane: But all of our campsites – one thing about it is we have about 75 feet in between the campsites for use area, which we kind of pride ourselves on. So you have a little room to stretch out and play catch or whatever you want to do in between the campsites.
Camp South Dakota: Yeah, absolutely. And two questions for you left. If you could only spend one hour in the Park, what would you do?
Shane: If you had a boat, definitely go out on the water. Otherwise, I would take a hike and probably go on a nature trail. And then, if you had a bike along, you could ride along the shoreline on the paved bike trail, which is a really pretty ride. That’s kind of what I would do in an hour.
Camp South Dakota: Perfect. And then if you could only spend just one night at Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, which campsite would you choose and why?
Shane: Okay. The most popular campsite in the Park is Site 334. It has kind of a, oh, 240-degree view of the lake. It’s kind of on a point. Really pretty spot. Nothing in front of you on that site. So, that’s the most popular one. It’s rented every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Camp South Dakota: Absolutely. Well, it’s great to have the insights and we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
Shane: You bet. You have a wonderful day.
Camp South Dakota: You too.