Spirit Mound Summit Trail

photo: View of the prairie from Spirit Mound Summit Trail, north of the town of Vermillion, South Dakota; photo by Fiana Shapiro

Type: Oth
Length: 0.75 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

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Location: Spirit Mound Historic Prairie
State(s): South Dakota
Counties: Clay
Latitude: 42.8675
: -96.95598

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Spirit Mound, or Paha Wakan, was known by many tribes before Lewis and Clark expedition came to the area. These tribes told Lewis and Clark that the mound was occupied by little people who shot any human who came near. On August 15, 1804, Lewis and Clark took eleven men and their dog to explore the mound. While they didn't find any "little people", Clark reported that they did see a "most beautiful landscape; numerous herds of buffalo were seen feeding in various directions." Historians recognize the mound as one of few remaining sites where we know with certainty that Lewis and Clark actually stood.

Additional Details

Width: 60 inches.
Primary Surface: Bituminous treatment
Secondary Surface: Bituminous Treatment

Average Grade: 3%
Elevation Low Point: 1,176
Elevation High Point: 1,246
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Mark Steck
SD Department of Game, Fish and Parks
28771 482nd Ave.
Canton , SD 57013
(605) 987-2263



 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.


 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.


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