Missouri National Recreation River

The Missouri National Recreation River site is headquartered in Yankton, South Dakota. Stretches of the Missouri River have been left in their natural states so that people can see and experience what the river looks like when it is undeveloped. Many activities are in the area known as the 59 Mile District, a region that stretches from about 1 mile below Gavins Point Dam near Yankton to Ponca State Park near Ponca, Nebraska, or the 39 Mile District, an area that runs from Fort Randall Dam at Pickston, South Dakota, and that continues through Running Water, South Dakota. You can do many things at the Missouri National Recreation River, including visiting a national fish hatchery, fishing, paddling, and hunting, depending on your exact location. 

Things to Do

Things To Do Near Missouri National Recreation River

Many who come to the Missouri National Recreation River site choose to go on paddling adventures. Free kayaking clinics are given at Lake Yankton during the summer, and those who already have kayaking experience will want to follow the Missouri River Water Trail. There are also fantastic places to go hiking and biking along the river’s edge. Hunting and trapping are available within the Bow Creek and Goat Island Recreation Areas. You can also boat on and fish in the Missouri River.

Hiking Trails



Nearby Shops and Restaurants

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How To Get To Missouri National Recreation River

A great way to see all that this site has to offer is to start at its northern end and paddle your way down to its end at Ponca State Park. In order to do that, head to Fort Randall Dam at Pickstown, South Dakota. To get there from Yankton, get on South Dakota 314 West. Turn left onto South Dakota 50 West. Go straight to get onto 297th Street, and continue straight to get onto US 281 South. 


508 E 2nd St, Yankton, SD 57078

Fee: Entry Fee (per person)

There is no entry fee.

The Missouri National Recreation River is a 100-mile section of the river that has been protected in its natural condition. The site is divided into two areas with one section running from Fort Randall Dam at Pickston, South Dakota, and continuing southeast to Running Water, South Dakota. The second section starts at Gavins Point Dam and continues through Ponca State Park in Nebraska. This area is a fantastic place to follow the Missouri Water Trail, but you can also go hiking and biking, or you can enjoy other recreational activities near the river’s shores. There is also fantastic shopping and dining nearby. The best way to make this trip is in a comfortable RV so that you are assured of a comfortable place to rest at night after playing on and along the river.