Lewis and Clark State Park | Outdoorsy

Lewis and Clark State Park
Guide

Introduction

Located by Lake Sakakawea, the Lewis and Clark State Park offers RVers the opportunity to enjoy miles of the Missouri River and stunning views of the North Dakota Badlands all year round. The closest city to the park is Williston, which is 19.7 miles away and home to the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. The park has 49-acres of mixed-grass prairie that can be enjoyed along the self-guided nature trails. There are several land-based activities on offer like birding and flora walks, but the park is better known for its water activities. These activities include kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and fishing.

The state park was named in honor of pioneers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark because Lewis and Clark's group camped nearby the park during their expedition in April of 1805. Today, visitors to the park will find a trail maker that details Lewis and Clark's historic journey through the surrounding area.

The prehistoric-looking paddlefish and the pallid sturgeon are two scarce fish varieties that can sometimes be found in the western reaches of the lake. As you walk and drive through the park, you are bound to spot several other animals like mule deer, white-tailed deer, porcupine, and ring-necked pheasant, making this park interesting for everyone who visits, no matter what you visit for.

RV Rentals in Lewis and Clark State Park

Transportation

Driving

Lewis and Clark State Park is located in an area of North Dakota known for its historical sites. The park is just 151 miles northeast of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and 165 miles northwest of Washburn, North Dakota, the start of the Sakakawea Scenic Byway. The closest city to the park is Williston, which is approximately 20 miles west of the entrance. RVers traveling to the park from Williston should take the ND-1804 before turning onto the roads that lead into the park. When the weather conditions are good, RVers should have no trouble traveling to the park. For those with larger motorhomes or rigs, the road poses no height restrictions for RVers.

Once in the park visitors will drive along a tarred road for just under a mile before reaching the RV spots and campgrounds. The roads are tarred throughout and there is the occasional dirt road, making it easy to drive rigs through the park.

Parking

There is plenty of parking throughout the park that campers and day guests can make use of. There is parking near the kiosk, at the picnic shelter, near the marina and in the fishing area. There are also several parking points along the hiking trails.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Lewis and Clark State Park

Campsites in Lewis and Clark State Park

Reservations camping

Lewis and Clark State Park

The Lewis and Clark State Park Campground has 101 campsites available to RVers and tent campers. Each campground is divided into different categories according to amenities. Forty-one are modern plus campsites, which are equipped with electricity, water, and sewer hookups. Forty-seven are modern campsites, which offer water and electricity hookups but no sewers. Two are group plus campsites and are suitable for groups who want to camp together. Multiple units can be accommodated on one site and offer water, electricity, and sewer hookups.

There are an additional three group campsites that provide water and electricity hookups but no sewer. Additionally, there are eight primitive campsites available for those wanting to really rough it. Communal bathrooms are centrally located with restrooms and showers. There is also a camp store, two playgrounds, a picnic shelter, an amphitheater, and a central dump station. The swimming area is located on the northeast side of the campgrounds near the cabins.

Cabins

For those not wanting to rough it in an RV or a tent, there is another option: cabins. The park has two seasonal camping cabins, located on the edge of Lake Sakakawea in the Bluebird Loop. The Clark cabin is accessible for people with disabilities. The cabins are ideal for an affordable holiday during the summer. They can accommodate up to five people, three on single beds in bunk bed style, and two on a queen bed. The cabins are equipped with a refrigerator and microwave, are air-conditioned, and have a fire pit outside. Bring along your own towels and bedding as these are not supplied.

These are non-smoking cabins, and pets are not allowed. There is a strict policy that game or fish may not be cleaned in or around the cabins; instead, visitors should make use of the fish cleaning station by the marina. The park expects that visitors do a general clean before leaving, which includes collecting and bagging trash, sweeping, and wiping down surfaces.

Seasonal activities in Lewis and Clark State Park

In-Season

Fishing

Anglers will find brilliant fishing for a variety of fish like sauger, northern pike, and walleye. There is a fish cleaning station located by the marina available to use once you have caught your fish. The park offers light fishing pressure and easy access to the water, making the area ideal for catching fish. Residents and non-residents ages 16 and older must have a valid fishing license to fish in the state of North Dakota.

Boating

Visitors to Lewis and Clark State Park can make use of the park's famous boating facilities. The Lewis and Clark Marina's slips range from 20-50 feet and are guarded by a rock breakwater. There are also two piers; pier 1 has 20 to 28-feet slips, and pier 2 has 46 to 50-foot slips. These are available to rent. A septic pump-out service and unleaded fuel are available on the water. On the east side of the park, visitors can make use of the four-lane boat ramp to gain access to the lake. During the summer season, campers and day visitors can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and canoes. Dry storage is also available for visitors wanting to store their boats during the winter or summer season.

Hiking

As one of the most extensive native mixed-grass prairies in North Dakota, Lewis and Clark State Park is an ideal place for hiking. There is a selection of trails visitors can choose to hike, and these trails include the Praire Nature Trail, the Shore Line Trail, the South Trail System, and the North Trail System. Some of the trails are only for hiking; others are for hiking and mountain biking—ensuring that the whole family will enjoy these beautiful trails whether they are walked or biked. The trails cover native prairie, wooded ravines, and the shore of the lake and occasionally cross over each other. Hikers and mountain bikers alike will be able to see and hear a variety of wildlife on the trails, as well as enjoy beautiful views of the lake. The trails vary in distance, but none of them are longer than roughly three miles.

Off-Season

Picknicking

Having a picnic is the perfect way to end off a hike or a morning spent fishing. Pack a picnic and make it a day outing! The Lewis and Clark State Park has three picnic shelters available. The North and South shelters can accommodate 64-96 people, and the Friends Shelter can accommodate 128 people. Picnic shelters can be reserved in advance. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy a dip in the lake at the day-use beach situated along the east shore of the lake near the camping cabins. Picnicking at this park is especially beautiful during the fall season when the leaves are beginning to change colors.

Birding

Birders will have a ball here at Lewis and Clark State Park! Buffaloberry shrubs and chokecherry trees lure a range of bird species like the robins, towhees, and catbirds. Right in the middle of the central fly zone, North Dakota is one of the top destinations for countless birds and birders alike. April is the beginning of the spring migration season, and visitors to the park will have many opportunities to see birds during their migration. North Dakota has more wildlife refuges than any other state and offers unmatched viewing of a variety of birds and other animals. The North Dakota birdwatcher's checklist of 370 species is sure to help birders identify the different species they spot.

Fort Union Trading Post

It is well worth the drive to theFort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, which is located on the border of Montana and North Dakota. The site is partially reconstructed, which gives a glimpse into the operation of a fur trading outpost in the mid-1800s. Many Native American tribes used this post to trade furs and buffalo robes in exchange for goods like blankets, guns, beads, and cloth. The surrounding landscape is breathtaking, and the fort is well maintained, so it feels like you are stepping back in time. The fort is free to tour and has many activities to keep visitors busy, including a trail to walk, a small museum, a blacksmith shop, and a junior trader program for the kids. It is family and pet-friendly, and the staff is accommodating and do a great job of bringing alive the day to day life at Fort Union.

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