South Dakota

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

Length: 0.75 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Prairie
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running

See more details.


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

Driving Directions

Driving directions are not available for this trail. Can you provide this missing data?


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: None
Average Grade: 3%
Maximum Grade: 5%
Elevation Low Point: 1,176
Elevation High Point: 1,246
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Map: South Dakota Parks Trail Map
Website: NPS Trail Information

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.

Park Ranger:
Mark Steck
SD Department of Game, Fish and Parks
28771 482nd Ave.
Canton, SD 57013
(605) 987-2263
[email protected]



 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.


 Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Photo by Fiana Shapiro.

Stream flowing softly. Photo by Donna Maddox.

Stream flowing softly. Photo by Donna Maddox.


Ceremony Site. Photo by Donna Maddox.

Ceremony Site. Photo by Donna Maddox.


Nothing but peace

I was in Vermillion for a graduation.
Unfortunately, I could not enjoy due to a bad bout with vertigo.
My husband would ask where do you want to go? My answer was always spirit Mound.
I felt relief without medicine. So had many picnics and hikes on Spirit Mound. This Florida girl will be back.
The most peaceful relaxing place I know.

October 28, 2018



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