Just off Highway 52, the 60-acre Pierson Ranch Recreation Area in Yankton, South Dakota gives easy access to 67 RV campsites that will fit rigs up to 75 feet long. The sites all come with electricity and have plenty of amenities while still maintaining the rugged outdoorsy atmosphere. From swimming and boating in the summer to snowmobiling and hiking in the winter, you can have fun anytime of the year at Pierson Ranch.
Pierson Ranch Recreation Area is the oldest campground in the area and has been there since 1959. In fact, it was the first campground to be built after the Gavin's Point Dam was finished. It is located between Lake Yankton and Lewis and Clark Lake with the Missouri River just to the south so there is plenty of water acreage available for all types of water sports.
The sandy beach provides a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and picnic shelters and there is a nine-hole disc golf course, soccer field, and basketball and tennis courts nearby as well. The large day-use area has two playgrounds, an amphitheater, picnic shelters, and quite a few picnic tables and BBQ pits for anyone to use. You can also rent other games, kayaks, rafts, and inner tubes as well as other water and beach toys.
Just four miles west of Yankton, in southeastern South Dakota, you can find the beautiful and peaceful Pierson Ranch Recreation Area. Once you get off the major highways and onto the smaller backroads, you are going to be running into more narrow areas where it may be difficult to maneuver in a big rig or campervan. So, if you are driving a large RV or camper or pulling a trailer, it is important that you go slow and take it easy. You should also watch out for wild animals that may wander onto the roads like whitetail deer and foxes.
When you get into the park, the streets will become even more narrow and you will probably need to park your RV at the campsite and walk or ride a bike around the park. With such a small park, you should have no trouble getting around on foot but if you do need to drive, there are a few parking lots big enough to accommodate your campervan or camper. The parking lot by the day use area is large enough for those with boat trailers as well.
The Pierson Ranch Campground is open year-round and has 67 campsites with electric, fire pits, picnic tables, and lantern posts. The pad lengths range from 60 to 75 feet long so you can find one that your RV fits into no matter how big it is. There is a playground for the kids by campsite 25 and another one by campsite 61. You will also find potable water access by sites five, 25, 35, and 50. The flush restrooms and shower houses are located by campsites nine and 67 and there are vault toilets located around the campground. The water access is not available from October until May so you will need to bring your own if you visit during the off-season. Lake Yankton is right across the street from the campground and the six-mile walking and biking trail is right by the boat ramp. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a leash or restrained at all times.
All campsites are available as first-come, first-served on a daily basis as long as they have not been reserved. Be sure to check with the camp host or another park employee before unpacking or follow the instructions on the vacancy card.
Park the rig at your campsite and get out and explore the woods before dinner. The six-mile hiking trail is a paved path that is rated easy and is accommodating to everyone of all ages. Starting at the day use parking lot, head out west toward the Lewis and Clark Lake, which takes you over the spillway and along the lake. You will find benches, picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms along the way so you don’t have to worry about getting thirsty, but you may need to bring some sunscreen, so you don’t get a sunburn.
There is a plethora of different aquatic species to be had in the three different bodies of water at Pierson Ranch Recreation Area. If you are not catching anything with a lure or jig on one of the lakes, tie a big river weight on your line, attach some cut bait or worms onto your hook, and toss it in the river. There are some big lunkers in the Missouri River from 60-pound gar to 80-pound catfish. Make sure you don’t forget to pack your net in the rig so you can pull that monster fish out of the water.
The off-season always seems so lonely at the local parks but that is a good thing for those who like the peace and quiet of a winter day. Until they start up the snowmobile and take off. Attach the trailer to the campervan and bring your snowmobiles so you can rev your engines and blast through the nice calm woods at Pierson Ranch Recreation Area. The hiking and biking trail transforms into a snowmobiling trail during the winter after a few inches of powder.
Whether you are a pro or a newbie, the nine-hole disc golf course at Pierson Ranch Recreation Area is perfect for anyone. Similar to frisbee, this game is played by throwing a disc at a target and trying to get the lowest score by using the least moves, like golf. At Pierson Ranch, the course is fun and takes you into the woods and along the creeks for a hike as well as a game of disc golf. Leave the camper at the campsite and head out for a round or two of disc golf before dinner.
If you have a bass boat, party boat, or just a little paddle boat, you will have your pick of three different waterways to enjoy. The Missouri River is a fun place to float down the current while Lewis and Clark Lake is a fantastic place to spend the day waterskiing, wakeboarding, or just cruising the lake. And Lake Yankton is a nice calm lake to fish and soak up the sun. So make sure you pack your floaties in the RV before heading to the park.
If you are a biking enthusiast or you just need to work off some of those extra holiday pounds, be sure and pack your bike on the bike rack and point the RV in the direction of Pierson Ranch. Not only can you use your bike to get around the park, but they also have a six-mile trail that is popular with the bikers as well. It starts at the day-use area and takes you along the shore of the Lewis and Clark Lake and connects to several other trails.