LaFromboise Island and Farm Island - Trail Running

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About

Summary

LaFromboise Island Nature Area and Farm Island Recreation Area have almost 30 miles for trail runners to explore, with plenty of opportunities for outdoors fun and wildlife watching.

Written by

Abbie Mood

Distance

30.0 miles

Farm Island has eight miles of trails and LaFramboise Island has 21.5 miles of trails, which options ranging from three miles to 14.5. The Lewis and Clark trail connect the two islands.

Destination Distance From Downtown

143.7 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

The trails on both islands are gravel, dirt, or sand and are easy for children and adults of all ages.

Time To Complete

0 hours

You can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours running on the trails on the islands.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Both parks are open year-round. Part of the LaFramboise Island closes during the winter, spring and early summer due to bald eagle roosting.

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

Yes

LaFramboise Island Nature Area has no fee. Farm Island Recreation Area has a daily fee of $4 per person or $6 per vehicle. There is also an annual pass for $30 for the first vehicle, $15 for the second vehicle.

Review

Intro

Farm Island Recreation Area and LaFramboise Island Nature Area, located on the Missouri River in South Dakota, have nearly 30 miles of trails for runners to explore. Farm Island is well-known for camping, swimming, hiking, running, bird watching, and cycling, while LaFramboise Island is covered in trees and meadows, making it popular for wildlife and birdwatching. 

The trail running on both islands is relatively easy, with smooth paths made of gravel, dirt, or sand. There are individual trails on each island, or runners can get on the Lewis and Clark Trail that goes through both. It's a great place for a quick jog, a longer training run, or a walk with the family.

What Makes It Great

The most popular trail within Farm Island Recreation Area is the 3-mile Nature Exploration Trail. It gives visitors a good overview of the plant and animal life on the island, and many don't realize that Farm Island wasn't always the wilderness that visitors see today. Of course, it was that way back when Lewis and Clark passed through the area, but over the last 200 years the island has changed from wilderness to farming to resort facilities and back to almost wilderness. 

The 7-mile LaFramboise Island Trail can be broken into smaller loops, but is a popular route around the island. LaFramboise was originally known as "Bad Humor" Island because of some trouble Lewis and Clark had with a band of Sioux Indians near the Bad River, and then the name was changed when Joseph La Framboise built Fort La Framboise in 1817 for the American Fur Company. The island has a ton of diversity in both plants and animals, and deer and wild turkeys are often spotted. The endangered least tern and bald eagle have also been seen here.

The main attraction of both islands is the Lewis and Clark Trail. It runs 14.5 miles from Farm Island through LaFramboise Island to Oahe Downstream, and is an easy paved/gravel/limestone path. 

Who is Going to Love It

The trails at Farm Island Recreation Area and LaFramboise Island Nature Area are perfect for families who want to explore nature or trail runners looking to get in a decent workout. The running isn't going to be difficult, but there is the opportunity to for a longer workout with the Lewis and Clark trail. Farm Island requires an entry fee, but you can save a few bucks if you start on LaFramboise Island.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Both islands are just south of Pierre, South Dakota. 

Camping is available on Farm Island.

Snakes, ticks and poison ivy are common in the area.

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Location

Pierre

44.370819, -100.355644

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