Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is an excellent spot loaded with a unique forested prairie landscape, a serene lake, and 15 campsites furnished with electric hookups for RVs. Located four miles northeast of Selby, South Dakota, the recreation area was created in 1947. The natural landscape in the area was carved by glacier activity and melting thousands of years ago. Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area was named for its natural landscape of hidden trees that are not visible to travelers on the prairie. The lake was dry prairie with Hiddenwod Creek, an intermittent stream, until 1926 when one of the first earthen dams was built in the state to secure water. The natural landscaped bowl and lake was further enhanced in 1937 by the WPA when workers planted more than 3,000 trees in the immediate Lake Hiddenwood area.
The prairie landscape around Lake Hiddenwood was originally the homeland to numerous Sioux and Dakota Indian Tribes including the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Tribes. The tribes contact with European settlers began in the late 1790s when fur trappers entered the region along the Missouri River. The first known settler to view Lake Hiddenwood was G.H. Hoffman in 1833 claiming to have found an Indian grave.
Today, the 332-acre recreation area is a hot bed for numerous outdoor activities. There are plenty of options on the land and the lake. RVers can revel in fishing, boating, hiking, bird watching, and there are plenty of winter sport activities too. The campground is ideal with plenty of shade and motorhomes can hookup to electricity at each campsite.
The weather at Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is awesome in the summer for RVers with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s with up to three inches of rain per month. Wintertime has temperatures in the 20s accompanied by up to six inches of snow per month.
RVers and trailers can access Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area off of Hiddenwood Road at the northern end of the recreation area. If you are traveling northeast from Selby you will need to first navigate along U.S. Highway 12 until you intersect Scranton Road, also known as County Road 130, in Selby. Here you will drive east along Scranton Road which until you reach 309th Avenue. Travel north along the dirt road until you reach Hiddenwood Road where you will travel east to the entrance of the recreation area. While driving this segment you will encounter plenty of dirt roads, undulating prairie landscape and high winds may prohibit your speed. If you are driving south along U.S. Highway 83 you will want to travel east at the junction with U.S. Highway 12 at 128th Street. Here you will find a major turn right off the highway that may cause problems. Once traveling east on 128th Street you will encounter dirt roads that may have washboard that can affect your speed. At the junction of 128th Street and 309th Avenue go north until you reach Hiddenwood Road.
Once inside the park you will encounter congestion in several places including around the day use area with a swimming beach and near the boat ramp. The campground has turn-arounds at both ends of the one road. The campground turn around may be difficult for larger rigs. While driving in the recreation please adhere to all posted speed limits and beware of sharing the road with bicyclists, pedestrians, and children playing near campsites.
Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is situated along one road and contains 15 campsites for tents, RVs, and trailers furnished with electric hookups. The campground resides in a forested area along Split Rock Creek and has plenty of shade and privacy for motorhomes. Each campsite is furnished with electricity, a picnic table, fire ring, and gravel parking pad which may require leveling. RVs are limited to 50 feet in length and not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs.
There is no dump station located within the recreation area. The nearest dump station is in Selby four miles to the southeast. RVers are encouraged to fill their water holding tanks before entering the recreation area. Other facilities within the campground include vault toilets, water spigots, and a children’s playground. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets are allowed but must be restrained by a 10-foot leash at all times. Although the campground is open year round the water service is turned off between October and April every year.
The multi-colored prairie in South Dakota is a fabulous thing to see in the fall when the trees and grasslands start to turn colors. Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is especially good for autumn colors with the abundant forested hillside around the Lake Hiddenwood. You can gaze out over the lake while watching the leaves turn from green to red to gold to orange. The prairie grasslands can turn a bright orange in the fall offering your eyes a treat of unreal colors.
Wildlife watching is superb at Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area. Bird watchers will be thrilled with seeing a variety of species on Lake Hiddenwood and Split Rock Creek. You can expect to see herons, numerous species of warblers, clay-colored sparrows, short-eared owls, red-tailed hawks, and plenty of egrets. Other wildlife you may see includes white-tailed and mule deer, muskrats, turtles along the shoreline, and numerous amphibians. RVers will want to bring a good pair of binoculars with them for the best viewing options.
Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area becomes a winter playground for you once the snow starts to fly. There are great opportunities to go snowshoeing within the recreation area. You can follow the moderate Blue Blanket Trail that will give your legs a good workout and stop at the scenic overlook for a break. The Hidden Beauty Trail is easier and you can follow the ridgeline above the northern edge of the lake where you will find plenty of gorgeous views of the surrounding winter landscape and the frozen lake. The hilly prairie landscape at Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is ideal for sledding and you don’t have to travel far from the campground to find that perfect hill to slide down.
Water sports are very popular for visitors at Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area. There is a boat ramp on the southeastern shoreline of the lake if you can tow your boat with your RV or motorhome. Boaters can enjoy fishing, towing an inner tube, and there is space to water ski if you choose. Kayakers and canoers will enjoy the scenic views of the hilly prairie landscape as they paddle the lake. Swimmers will be thrilled with the sandy swimming beach where you can relax or jump into Lake Hiddenwood.
One of the most popular things to do in Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is to head out of the campervan and go hiking. There are several trails that are ideal for all types of hikers from novice to expert. The recreation area has three trails including the Blue Blanket, Split Rock Creek and Hidden Beauty. Families will enjoy the moderate Blue Blanket Trail where you can stop at the scenic overlook for a perfect view of Lake Hiddenwood. Split Rock Creek Trail follows the creek and offers plenty of places to relax with a picnic. The easiest trail is Hidden Beauty where you will hike on the northern prairie hills surrounding the lake.
You will want to make sure you pack your rod and reel in your rig when you travel to Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area. You can dip your line from the 4,200 feet of shoreline and there is a fishing dock located along the southern end of the lake near the campground and earthen dam. Boats can use the boat launch to get their water vehicle in the lake. The lake is not that deep so trolling may not be your best option. You can expect to catch perch, bullhead, and a variety of small and large mouth bass. Please check South Dakota fishing regulations for bag and size limits.