The Pierre area has abundant opportunities for swimming, sailing, jet skiing and other water-bound activities. Lake Oahe, located by the Oahe Dam, provides more than 2,200 miles of shoreline and is 231 miles in length. Lake Sharpe, located on the south side of town, also offers a great area to enjoy time on the water.
On and Under the Water
Canoeing, kayaking and diving are common in the Pierre area. Divers flock to Lake Oahe for an underwater experience of the Missouri River.
Spearing season opens in the middle of June in South Dakota, and the Pierre area hosts several spearfishing contests each summer. A winter dive is also available for divers during the cooler months.
Kayaking and canoeing is available for guided and non-guided trips. The Dam run, which starts at the Oahe Dam and ends at the La Framboise Causeway, is a popular activity among residents. People can also combine water and land by cycling to the dam and kayaking back to town.
Along the Missouri River, Lake Oahe, and Lake Sharpe, sandy beaches are zoned for swimming. No lifeguards are on duty.
Pierre and Fort Pierre each have public pools. Pierre also has an Aquatic Center indoor pool.
A fully outfitted gym with racquetball courts, an indoor track, weights, treadmills and other exercise equipment. The YMCA is also home to the Aquatic Center with 8-lane Lap Pool (25 yards each), a one-meter diving board, two slides and a large play structure for kids.
This quarter mile drag strip is located only 14 miles north of Pierre. The drag strip is sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association and is a member of the West Central Division 5. www.oahespeedway.com.
Oahe Downstream ORV Area
These are allowed in many public areas around the Pierre area. A motocross racetrack is open to the public in the Oahe Downstream ORV area. There are 400 acres of hills, bluffs and shale slopes to explore. There are no designated trails, but boundaries are marked, and the ORVs are only allowed within the areas of Oahe Downstream. www.gfp.sd.gov.
Hiking and Biking
Fort Pierre National Grassland is 116,000 acres of rugged, unspoiled terrain, offering seasoned hikers and cyclists a look at the South Dakota prairie.
Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe feature both easy and challenging paths with excellent birding and nature-watching opportunities. Cottonwood Path is popular with hikers, cyclists and birders. LaFramboise offers seven miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Farm Island offers a three-mile Island Nature trail. Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Trails is an easy to moderate bike trip. Within the city of Pierre, bike trails and walking paths connect historical sites and recreation areas. The Native Plant Arboretum can provide excellent views of deer, wild turkey, mourning doves, bald eagles, songbirds and pheasants.The Riverwalk/Bicycle Path runs for 14 miles along the Missouri River shoreline.
The Capitol Creek Walk connects the Capitol grounds to the Riverwalk.
The Governor’s Walk winds thru Hilger’s Gulch Park.
Call the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce for more information 605.224.7361. The Pierre Capitol Walk Volksmarch is held April 1 to October 1.
Every season brings fresh opportunities for bird watching in the Pierre Area. The area is an important corridor for many varieties or migratory birds and diverse native species. www.gfp.sd.gov.
Fish in the morning, golf in the afternoon: it’s possible in Pierre, where all two golf courses are located adjacent to the river. Dunes Golf Course, located in Fort Pierre, is a USGA-rated 18-hole, par-63 course with driving range and lounge. 605.223.2525. Hillsview Municipal Golf Course, located in Pierre is an 18-hole, par-63 championship course. The course features a practice facility and group and private lessons from a PGA professional staff.
This is a growing sport among people of all ages. Pierre and Fort Pierre feature three disc golf courses. If you play at Oahe Downstream, Griffin and Steamboat Park, the courses are free. At Oahe Downstream, a valid park entrance license is required. For more information call the Pierre Recreation Department at 605.773.7445.
Griffin Park is the local center for playing, learning or watching tennis. The riverside park’s eight courts include four lighted courts. LaBarge Park features two tennis courts. For more information call the Pierre Recreation Department at 605.773.7445.
The trails at Oahe Downstream, La Framboise Island and Farm Island are popular places to snowshoe and cross-country ski. The best sledding is at Hilger’s Gulch, located close to the Capitol. Ice skating is a popular winter pastime on smaller lakes and ponds. Ice skaters can also enjoy open skating, hockey and figure skating at the two ice rinks in the Fort Pierre Community Expo Center, open mid-October through mid-March. 605.223.2178. Paysa rink in Pierre is home to the Central South Dakota Skating Club. Lessons and open skate are offered. 308.380.4250. Winter is the season for ice fishing. Multiple species are caught. www.gfp.sd.gov.
Lariat Lanes offers 16 lanes of bowling, lounge, concessions, dart boards, pool and video lottery. 605.224.1020.
Parks and Picnic Areas
The Pierre Riverwalk/bicycle path begins at Griffin Park, located adjacent to the City’s marina and boat ramp. As the path continues upriver it passes through Steamboat Park. One of Pierre’s smaller parks is LaBarge which has free tennis courts and playground equipment. For more information about Pierre city parks, visit www.ci.pierre.sd.us or call 605.773.7437.
Fischer’s Lily Park in Fort Pierre marks the spot where Lewis and Clark’s expedition first met the Teton Sioux. Learn more at www.fortpierre.com.