Map: https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/lewis-and-clark-trails.pdf Uses: Running, Walking, Bicycling Know Before You Go: This is a paved trail that runs along both Lewis and Clark Lake and Lake Yankton. At Highway 50, you can also turn east to ride the bike trail a few miles into Yankton and connect with the Auld-Brokaw Bike Trail, which runs for 3.3 miles through the city of Yankton. Beware, there is a very large hill east of Lewis and Clark Lake as you head uphill into town. Length: 7 miles. Time: One hour, one way, on a bicycle. Running this takes me 1.5 hours or so. Difficulty: Easy. Terrain: Asphalt. Dog-friendly: Yes, but dogs must be leashed. Kid-friendly: Yes, but please watch kids around the water.
As you look over Lewis and Clark Lake, you can imagine what the original explorers thought on their expedition through the Louisiana Purchase. The beauty of the chalk cliffs - especially at sunrise and sunset - competes with some of the most spectacular vistas in the world.
This bicycle trail can be started at Chief White Crane Campground on the east side of Lake Yankton. It runs past a nice beach, then traverses along the shoulder of the Toe Road, but traffic is generally careful as it’s a favorite route for bicyclists.
Keep an eye out for Catamarans as you head past the marina. They create a glorious splash of color sailing along the waters of Lewis and Clark Lake, created from the Missouri River by Gavin’s Point Dam.
The trail takes you between the campgrounds and the lake up to Gavin’s Point. Gavin’s Point was the initial proposed location of Gavin’s Point Dam a couple miles to the east, which forms Lewis and Clark Lake and is one of several dams along the Missouri River. Gavin’s Point was named for local farmer Michael J. Gavin, who owned the land on which this trail is located. The location was moved because its eventual location downstream offered a shorter span distance and less fill material for dam construction. The Missouri River, nicknamed “The Big Muddy” for its muddy color caused by silt, is North America’s longest river. Lewis and Clark Lake is one of Eastern South Dakota’s largest tourist attractions, popular for swimming, boating and fishing.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hook up with the bicycle trail that runs from Lewis and Clark Lake into the city of Yankton. This trail goes past the Sacred Heart Monastery, home to the Benedictine Sisters of South Dakota. The Sisters came to South Dakota from Switzerland to educate Native American children, but took up health care when asked by the bishop. Take a moment to explore the statues and monuments on the south side of the campus of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital - you can truly feel God’s presence as you walk your bicycle through the peaceful grounds.
The trail continues through the streets of Yankton to the Auld-Brokaw Trail, which starts at the Yankton Chamber of Commerce. The trail was funded by former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and his wife, Meredith Auld-Brokaw. It takes you three miles through the city alongside a small creek and through residential neighborhoods and several parks.