Missouri River in Pierre - Backpacking/Camping

Made possible by

Photos

About

Summary

The Missouri River runs right through Pierre, South Dakota, on its way down to Nebraska. There are miles of trails to explore along the Missouri, and a few great camping options along its banks.

Written by

Abbie Mood

Distance

0.0 miles

There are several trails along the Missouri River in Pierre, ranging from less than two miles to just over 14 miles. It's possible to connect some of the trails for a longer distance, too.

Destination Distance From Downtown

143.7 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

The hiking and camping along the Missouri River is easy to access.

Time To Complete

2 days

You'll want to spend at least a night or two.

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Rules about dogs depend on the area.

Fees Permits

Yes

Fees vary depending on where you choose to hike and camp.

Review

Intro

The Missouri River runs right through Pierre, South Dakota, on its way down to Nebraska. There are miles of trails to explore along the Missouri and a few great camping options along its banks. The trails range from less than one mile to more than 14 miles and can also be linked up if you are looking for a longer trek.

What Makes It Great

In Pierre, there are a few great camping options along the banks of the Missouri River: Farm Island, Okobojo Point Recreation Area, Cow Creek Recreation Area, and Oahe Downstream Recreation Area. There is also an RV park at Griffin Park Campground.

Farm Island has two campgrounds with 90 spaces, plus four cabins. The sites are $19/night and the cabins are $40/night, and you can make reservations. There is also a park entrance fee of $4/person or $6/vehicle. There are about 13 miles of trails on Farm Island, and about half of them are on gravel. Farm Island is quiet and peaceful, and is home to many species of birds.

Okobojo Point Recreation Area has 18 campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the sites are $13/night. There is also a park entrance fee of $4/person or $6/vehicle. While there are no official trails here, the recreation area is located on Lake Oahe Reservoir, so there are over 2,000 miles of sandy shoreline to explore.

Cow Creek Recreation Area is also located on Lake Oahe Reservoir, and there are 30 electric campsites, nine non-electric campsites and three cabins, which can be reserved up to 90 days in advance. 

Oahe Downstream Recreation Area is on the west side of the Missouri, and has three campgrounds with 205 campsites and seven cabins. Campsites are $19/night, cabins are $40/night, and the lodge is $125/night. The campground is open year round, but is is closed from November 15 until the end of March for bald eagle winter roosting. There is a long trail that is about 14 miles one-way, leading from the recreation area to Fort Pierre, which is the town across the river from Pierre. Fort Pierre has some additional camping and outdoor recreation opportunities.

La Framboise Island doesn't have any camping, but is closer to the town of Pierre and has about eight miles of hiking trails. The island is covered in trees and meadows, so it's a great place to spot wildlife. Lewis and Clark passed through this area in the early 1800s, and originally named the island "Bad Humor" because of an encounter with the nearby Teton Sioux.

Who is Going to Love It

Hiking and camping along the Missouri River is great for beginners and families—all of the areas are accessible from the town of Pierre and the trails are flat and easy. Experts can get in some distance training if they link up trails.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The town of Pierre is found at the intersection of US-14W/US-83S and SD-34W.

See each camping area's website for directions and information. For the campsites that accept reservations, you can make them up to 90 days in advance here.

Similar Local Backpacking/Camping Spots

See all

More South Dakota Activities

View South Dakota

More Pierre Activities

South Dakota Recommendations

Local South Dakota Stories

Location

Pierre

44.370819, -100.355644

Get Directions