Frequently Asked Questions

What is there to do at Missouri National Recreational River?

What is the Missouri National Recreational River?

  • It is a unit of the National Park Service and consists of two relatively free flowing stretches of the Missouri River:
    • 59-mile reach that was designated in 1978, from just below Gavins Point Dam to Ponca, Nebraska.
    • 39-mile reach which was designated in 1991, stretches from below Fort Randall Dam to Running Water, South Dakota. This reach also includes the lower 20 miles of the Niobrara River and 8 miles of Verdigre Creek.
  • The park's land base is quite small with approximately 1,100 acres. Park staff work with a number of federal, state and local partners to manage these incredible stretches of North America's longest river.

Where can I camp?

  • Visit our Camping page for suggestions.

Where can I rent a boat or canoe?

Where can I see bald eagles?

  • One of the best places is at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center located in Nebraska above the Gavins Point Dam. Depending on weather, eagles begin congregating early to mid-December and stay until mid to late-February. Another location is at the overlook below Fort Randall Dam at Pickstown, South Dakota.

Can I use my South Dakota (Nebraska) fishing license on the Nebraska (South Dakota) side of the river?

  • Yes. The Missouri River, including Lewis and Clark Lake, is considered border waters and a person with a resident license from Nebranka or South Dakota may fish from boat or bank with hook and line. Visit the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center for more information.

Can I hunt in the national park?

  • Yes. Please visit the Hunting page for more information including rules and regulations.

Where can I obtain a National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Passes?

  • Passes (annual, senior, or access) are available only in-person at National Park Service entrance stations or visitor centers, but not available at the Missouri National Recreational River. Passes are available by ordering online or by visiting the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center. Please note, the Center does not carry the Access Pass.

Where can I buy a South Dakota or Nebraska state park permit?

Why are personal watercraft (jet skis) prohibited on park waters?

  • Missouri National Recreational River is both a unit of the National Park System (like Yellowstone National Park or Shiloh National Battlefield) and a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The National Park Service banned personal watercraft on the waters of the National Park System effective April 20, 2000. (More info) There are only a few exceptions to this nationwide ban.

Do you have a Junior Ranger program?

  • Yes, we do! Go to our Kids' Page for links to our Junior Ranger program and other activities.

Where can I get my National Parks Passport book stamped?

  • You can get your book stamped at the National Park Service office located at 508 East 2nd Street in Yankton at the outside information board or inside from 8:00 am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday, at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center, and at the Niobrara and Ponca State Parks.

Last updated: April 21, 2020

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508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


605-665-0209 x21

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