Missouri National Recreational River


There was a time there was just the river. Then people came. People and the river have been connected ever since. And now it's your turn. Missouri National Recreational River offers natural beauty: the forested buff-colored chalkstone bluffs to gently rolling range bottomland; the brilliant white of migrating pelicans to the rich blues of prairie asters; the soaring majesty of resident bald eagles to fleeting glimpses of the wily red fox. It offers an exciting past for your enjoyment and enrichment, from Plains Indian tribes to Lewis and Clark to steamboat captains such as Grant Marsh. Here, you can experience the dynamic character of the river's ever-changing nature, with its islands, shifting sandbars, sloughs, and treacherous, deadly snags. Both the upper 39-mile reach and the lower 59-mile reach along the Nebraska-South Dakota border combine to form one of few sections of this once vast ecosystem along the "Big Muddy" that remains in a relatively natural state.


Seasonality / Weather

Open year round. For fishing enthusiasts, the best time of year for walleye/sauger is May to June and mid-September through November. For small and largemouth bass, the best times are May, June, September, and October near Springfield (SD) and Niobrara (NE). For crappie and northern pike, the best times are early April after ice out and in late summer near Springfield and Niobrara. For catfish, the best times are late June, July and August near Springfield and Niobrara.



South Dakota Route 50 and Nebraska Route 12 parallel the park for much of its length. Most of the public accesses to the river are off these two highways. NPS Rangers are stationed in the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, which is located on Nebraska Route 121 about four miles west of Yankton, South Dakota.

Public Transportation - No public transportation is available within the park corridor. Limited taxi service is available in Yankton (605/665-4551 or 605/668-9808).