Newton Hills State Park

The Coteau des Prairies, formed by glacial movement during the last Ice Age, is a 200-mile long and 100-mile wide plateau situated more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Home to Newton Hills State Park, the site was named by early French explorers for the French word coteau, meaning “slope.” Lewis and Clark visited the area in the 1800s, and noted this description of the site on an 1814 map: “High land covered with wood called mountain of the prairie.”

People have been drawn to the uniqueness of the Coteau de Prairies for thousands of years. Burial mounds and artifacts indicate that the Woodland Indian Culture inhabited the Newton Hills State Park site from 300 B.C. to 900 A.D. In addition to the rich ancient history of the site, recent legends surrounding hidden gold are also associated with Newton Hills. The legend of the hidden gold states years ago, Lakota Sioux warriors attacked a United States military expedition near Sargeant Creek, currently the center of Newton Hills State Park. Outnumbered, the defeated military expedition is rumored to have buried their cache of gold near the creek’s drainage. Numerous searches of the area have found no evidence of buried gold or of the rumored battle.

Newton Hills State Park features 948 acres of open prairie, dark forests thick with black oak and cottonwood trees, and the crystal clear waters of Lakota Lake and Big Sioux River. Six miles of multi-use (hiking, biking, and horseback riding) trails allow visitors to explore the vast, unique ecosystem. White-tailed deer, marmots, red and gray foxes, turkeys, and squirrels frequent the park’s wilderness trails. More than 200 species of birds have been spotted at Newton Hills, making it a fantastic site for avian enthusiasts.

During the summer months, visitors can swim, fish, and boat in the waters of Lake Lakota or Big Sioux River, both densely populated with bass, panfish, catfish, and perch. Deer and turkey archery hunting are also permitted in the park during designated seasons.

Equestrian aficionados are thrilled by Newton Hill’s horse camp and horse trails. Winter visitors to Newton Hill State Park can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The amphitheatre of Newton Hill State Park hosts many folk music concerts throughout the year. The most popular folk music concert, the Sioux River Folk Festival, is held each year on the first weekend in August.

Newton Hills State Park has 122 campsites with electrical connections available. Visitors can also stay at one of the site’s three cabins or find lodging in surrounding communities. While in the area, tourists are sure to enjoy nearby Union Grove State Park, Beaver Creek Nature Area, and Lake Alvin Recreation Area.

Park Schedule & Rates

  • Open year-round
  • Camping: 118 sites (108 electrical).
  • Cabins: Seven sites. Sleeps four.
  • Lodge: Sleeps up to 12.
  • Showers. Water. Dump station.
  • Contact park for current rates and availability.

Park Contact Information

Categories: Eastern SD, State Parks

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