The 1,063 acres of Newton Hills State Park are contrasted by dense, dark woodlands and vast open prairies overlooking blissful Lake Lakota. Located just miles from Canton, South Dakota, it’s a great space for exploring the outdoors surrounded by miles of multi-use trails loved by hikers, bikers and horse riders alike.
Named after William Newton who settled in the region in the 1850s, the park is steeped in history. Interestingly, Newton’s wife was a mid-wife who, up until the 1870s, was the only European American north of Vermillion who could deliver babies. Today, it’s the tranquil waters of Lake Lakota that form the centerpiece to Newton Hills. Campers and day visitors can enjoy all sorts of water recreation here with a beach, boat launch area, fishing dock, as well as canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and floating mats for hire.
Once you’ve set up your RV camp, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. If you love birds, you’ll enjoy spotting more than 200 species recorded in the park. Or if you prefer a leisurely stroll, take the Woodland Trail - listed in the registry of National Recreation Trails - and keep an eye out for cute woodland creatures, such as white-tailed deer, wild Merriam turkey, marmot, red and grey fox, and rabbits.
Weather wise, winter could likely be very cold and icy, while summer could get very hot and humid. There’s plenty of activity in the summer months, while cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular on the park's trails in the off season. Newton Hills hosts folk music concerts and the FestiFall in October each year, plus there are Friday night movies in the amphitheater during the summer months. Don’t miss out - book your campsite early!
You’ll find Newton Hills State Park off County Road 135, six miles south of Canton. The park is well signposted. Please note that you will require a vehicle entry sticker for this South Dakota State Park – they are available at the entrance. Parking is available for day visitors at a variety of trail heads throughout the park, but if you’re staying overnight you can park your RV in the campground.
Newton Hills State Park has a total of 126 shady campsites catering for tents and RV campers. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit. There are also 10 horse campsites with overnight horse corrals, and a variety of camper cabins and canopy tents are available for rent. Campers will have access to drinking water, a dump station, comfort station, and picnic areas.
Facilities in the park include a beach, boat ramp, amphitheater for weekly summer movie nights, a six-mile multi-use trail, and a children’s playground. Bicycles, canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, life jackets, and snowshoes are available for rent.
The park is open all year round, but showers, flush toilets and other water systems may be closed during the off season (November to March). Vault toilets are available year round. The park is pet friendly.
Bird watching enthusiasts can’t get enough of Newton Hills State Park. The diverse terrain is home to a total of 200 species of birds who visit the park each year. In addition to birdlife, the park is also abundant in all sorts of small wildlife, such as squirrels, marmots, rabbits, white-tailed deer, and red and grey fox. Wild Merriam turkeys have also been introduced to the park.
Campers can make use of the six-miles of multi-use trails that run through Newton Hills State Park for both hiking and biking. Leading through dense oak and basswood forests, this Woodland Trail has been listed in the registry of National Recreation Trails. Bicycles are available for rental at the park office.
Campers can enjoy swimming and a variety of water activities at Newton Hills State Park. A boat launch area at the park makes it possible to launch your own watercraft here but please note that the entire lake area is designated a “no wake” zone. If you don’t own your own, you don’t have to miss out on the fun. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, floating water mats, and life jackets are available for rent at the park office.
There are over five miles of cross-country skiing trails available for campers and day guests at Newton Hills State Park. There are ploughed roads and steep grades. A trail is available for all abilities – pick from the 0.4-mile Tower Loop, the 0.6-mile Corn Road, the 0.7-mile Shelter Loop, the 1.3-mile Campground Loop, and the two-mile Lower Road. Snowshoes are also available for rental.
Anglers will have a great time at Newton Hills State Park trying to catch bass, catfish, perch, and pan fish – perhaps you’ll catch something to enjoy on the campfire. There is a fishing dock within the park and fishing poles are available for rent at the park office. Please note that you will require a fishing license to fish in Lake Lakota.
Whether you visit during the summer months or in the quieter off season, there is a host of outdoor sports facilities for you to enjoy. Play a game of basketball, challenge the kids to a round of volleyball, or have fun in the horseshoe pits. Bicycles are also available for rent if you’d like to enjoy a scenic cycle around the park.