South Dakota, Iowa

Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail

The Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail contains some of the last remaining natural stretches of America's longest river. Come canoe, kayak, and camp along the trail as you experience the Missouri River as Lewis and Clark saw over two hundred years ago. The astonishing array of wildlife, scenic vistas and national significant history make a trip down this stretch of river a once in a lifetime experience.


Length: 147.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: National Water Trails System
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
     Entrance fees or state passes may apply to some access points within state parks.

Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Boating, Motorized
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Heritage and History
Wildlife Observation

See more details.


Location: The Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR) Water Trail begins at Fort Randall Dam near Pickstown, SD and extends 147 miles to Sioux City, Iowa.
State(s): South Dakota, Iowa
Counties: Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Gregory, Union, Yankton, Boyd, Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Knox
Longitude: -98.5705406175372
Latitude: 43.08697221

Driving Directions

The water trail extends from near Pickstown, SD to Sioux City, IA. Multiple public access points are on the trail and can be found on the additional attachment and trail website.


Two sections of the Missouri River are included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to preserve and protect the relatively free-flowing condition and natural and cultural landscapes. The Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail contains some of the last remaining natural stretches of North America's longest river. Visitors can canoe, kayak, and camp along the entire stretch of the water trail. Learn about local Native Americans, settlers, and how the steamboat transported people and goods for decades on the river's dangerous waters. Users of the trail float along the same path that Lewis and Clark explored over two hundred years ago. Visitors can actually witness several locations recorded by Lewis and Clark in their journals.

The water trail is also a great place to view wildlife. The area contains many bald eagles as well as three endangered species including the Piping Plover, Least Tern, and Pallid Sturgeon. The trail contains much natural and scenic beauty. Witness gently sloping to steep dissected bluffs and chalky limestone formations. As visitors paddle down the trail they can view old-growth cottonwood forests on sandbars and along the riverbank. Several federal, state, and local agencies and organizations promote and maintain the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail for visitors who want to experience one of America's most historic rivers.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Brochure: Missouri River Water Trail Print Map
Website: National Water Trail System Trail Overview

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.

Trail Management:
Tim Cowman
Missouri River Institute
414 East Clark Street
310 Akeley-Lawrence Science Center
Vermillion, SD 57069
(605) 677-6151
[email protected]

Public Contact:
Lisa Yager
Missouri National Recreational River
National Park Service
508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078
(605) 665-0209
[email protected]





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Submit an Edit

Trail Managers: please use the official NRT update form to update your trail for any of the following changes:

  • Change in trail mileage through trail extension
  • Change in trail mileage through trail retraction
  • Change in trail mileage through significant trail reroute
  • Change to trail name
  • Change in trail description or use
  • Undesignation of trail (removal of NRT designation status)
  • Other significant updates

>> Download the official NRT update form.

All other edits can be submitted via the below form: