Oahe Downstream Recreation Area

Oahe Downstream Recreation Area

Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, located five miles north of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, is a haven for water lovers and nature enthusiasts.

In 1944, the Flood Control Act led to the damming of the Missouri River and to the harnessing of the Missouri’s strength for electricity production. Construction of the Oahe Dam began in 1948, and the dam was officially dedicated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, the year it began producing power. Damming of the Missouri River resulted in the formation of four reservoirs: Oahe, Sharpe, Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark. Combined, these four reservoirs provide more than 440 miles of waterway and more than 3,000 miles of shoreline.

Downstream of the Oahe Dam is the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area State Park. Oahe, the fourth largest man-made reservoir in the United States, is 231 miles in length and connects the capital cities of South Dakota and North Dakota.

Visitors to Oahe Downstream Recreation Area enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing. The reservoir is an angler’s delight, rich with walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass, channel catfish, panfish, and trout. Other recreational activities include an archery range, a rifle and shotgun shooting range, a nine-hole disc golf course, horseshoe pitching, and sand volleyball. Off-road vehicle enthusiasts can also enjoy the Oahe Downstream OHV Area, featuring 400 acres of shale slopes, hilly grassland, and river bluffs.

Oahe Downstream Recreation Area has two easy walking trails, The Cottonwood Path Trail and The Lewis and Clark Trail, both of which are rated as appropriate for all ages. While on the trails, visitors may observe majestic bald eagles perching in cottonwood trees.

Visitors to The Oahe Downstream Recreation Area have their choice of three campgrounds. Cabins and rental camping trailers can be found at the Oahe Resort & Marina, and additional lodging can be obtained in the surrounding communities.

Access to Lake Oahe Reservoir is also available to visitors of Spring Creek Recreation Area, located fifteen miles northwest of Pierre, South Dakota. Ideal for day-trippers, Spring Creek Recreation Area offers visitors hours of fun boating, water skiing, or fishing on the crystal clear waters of Lake Oahe. A privately owned resort offers campsites and cabins, or lodging may be obtained in nearby towns.

While in the area, travelers are sure to enjoy visiting such nearby attractions as the Oahe Dam and Visitor Center, the South Dakota Discovery Center and Aquarium, Farm Island Recreation Area, and the Buffalo Interpretive Center.

Park Schedule & Rates

  • Open year-round
  • Camping: 205 sites (all electrical).
  • Cabins: Five cabins. Each sleeps four.
  • Lodge available.
  • Showers. Water. Dump Station.
  • Contact park for current rates and availability.

Park Contact Information

  • Located 5 miles N of Ft. Pierre on Hwy 1806. S. of Oahe Damn
  • 605-223-7722 or 800-710-2267
  • oahe@state.sd.us
Categories: Central SD, State Parks

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