Winter activities in South Dakota’s state parks

In the aftermath of the Christmas storm that dumped nearly two feet of snow on much of South Dakota, there’s plenty of opportunities available for winter recreation. Here’s a list of winter activities in state parks from the Department of Game, Fish and Parks:

  • Cross-country skiing
    Found in several parks, many trails take you off the beaten path, allowing you to discover the winter world up close.
  • Snowshoeing
    In addition to the many guided hikes offered, snowshoes are available for free checkout at Big Sioux, Custer, Fort Sisseton and the Black Hills Trails Office for use on the Mickelson Trail.
  • Snowmobiling
    Snowmobilers can take advantage of trail riding opportunities across the state. Trails in both the Black Hills and the eastern part of the state are currently open. New this year, follow the snowmobile trails on Twitter!
    Black Hills | East
  • Traditional favorites
    Let’s not forget the time-honored activities of ice skating, snowball fights, looking for animal tracks, sledding, building snow forts, hunting, ice fishing, or taking a leisurely walk in the brisk winter air.
  • Camping
    It might seem a little crazy, but more people than you think go winter camping. Campsites are now first-come, first-served. Electricity is kept on year-round, but water systems and modern bathrooms facilities are closed during the winter.
  • Cabins
    For a cozier option, try a cabin. The one-room, log-style cabins are found across the state and feature heat, air-conditioning, electricity, a set of bunk beds, double bed, table and benches. A firegrate and picnic table located outside. Bring your own linens/sleeping bags. Reserve year-round online or call 1-800-710-CAMP (2267).
  • Group lodges
    For gathering a group, check out one of the State Parks lodges. Found at Mina Lake, Shadehill, Newton Hills, Lake Thompson, Oahe Downstream (no overnight accommodations). Reservations for all of 2010 are now available online or call 1-800-710-CAMP (2267).

The department reminds visitors that park entrance licenses are required year-round in all designated fees areas. The 2010 park entrance license (featuring a winter scene) is now available, valid until May 2011. Your 2009 licenses are still valid, too.

Categories: Outdoor Activities

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply