Platte Creek Recreation Area is a splendid spot along the shores of Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River with loads of outdoor activities throughout the year and 37 campsites that offer electrical hookups for RVs. Located 18 miles southwest of Platte, South Dakota, the Platte Creek Recreation Area is situated along the Missouri River and Lake Francis Case. The 252-acre recreation area was created in 1983 and named after one of the first settlers in the area named Bernard Pratte who owned a fur trapping post near the mouth of the Platte River.
The land surrounding Platte Creek Recreation Area was the ancestral homeland of the Plains Indian Tribes that include the Dakota and several Sioux tribes. The Indian tribes first came into contact with European fur trappers in the late 1790s and made contact with Lewis and Clarke’s Discovery Expedition in 1805. The area is where Lewis and Clarke were told to look for the “burning bluffs” which is a natural occurrence of minerals mixing with sulfurous rock creating smoke.
Today, Platte Creek Recreation Area is a haven for rigs and outdoor enthusiasts with numerous activities both on the water and land. Lake Francis Case boasts 102,000 acres of water that is ideal for water sports and fishing. The surrounding land offers plenty of wildlife, hunting, winter sports like snowshoeing, and a pleasant campground with 37 campsites offering electric hookups.
Weather at Platte Creek Recreation Area is mostly pleasant for RVers in the summer with temperatures in the 80s with up to three inches of rain per month. Winter time temperatures hover in the low 30s and bring plenty of snow with up to seven inches per month.
RVers can access Platte Creek Recreation Area off of 282nd Street. Reaching 282nd Street from Platte is done by traveling west on South Dakota State Highway 44 until the junction with County Road 49 where you will follow south until you connect with 282nd Street where you will start to head west to the recreation area. The drive is pretty straight with little obstacles for you to navigate while driving along the undulating grassland terrain. While driving you may encounter high winds at any spot along the prairie roads that will hamper your traveling speeds. If you are traveling from Geddes you will find similar driving conditions along South Dakota State Highway 50 until you reach 282nd Street.
RVers will find a more challenging drive if you are leaving from Snake Creek Recreation Area along State Highway 44. There are a couple of curves once you leave the recreation area heading east on the highway. You will start to travel south at the junction of South Dakota State Highway 1804. While driving south you will encounter challenging situations near the Gray State Public Shooting Area where you will navigate several hairpin turns. Once inside the recreation area you will find the campground on the north side of 282nd Street. The campground loop will be easy to navigate. Taking the road south through the park is somewhat different. You will encounter plenty of congestion along the way with numerous parking areas for day users and there is a boat launch area where you will encounter congestion. While driving in the recreation area please adhere to all posted speed limits. Be cautious while sharing the road with bicyclists, pedestrians and children playing near the campground and day use areas.
Platte Creek Recreation Area Campground is situated along one loop and contains 37 campsites that are furnished with 50 amp electric hookups. There are 18 pull-through and 19 back-in campsites available. The campground does not offer much shade or privacy while camping. Each campsite is furnished with a picnic table, fire ring, and gravel parking pad which may require leveling. RVs and trailers are limited to 65 feet in length but not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station located near the boat launch. You are encouraged to fill your water tank while using the dump station. Other facilities within the campground include water spigots, flush, and vault toilets. There is a playground near the day use area in the southern section of the recreation area. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets are welcome but should be leashed. Although the campground is open year round, the water within the recreation area is turned off from October 1st until April 30th of each year.
You need to make sure you put your rod and reel in your motorhome before visiting Platte Creek Recreation Area. Fishing is one of the more popular things to do on Lake Francis Case which offers plenty of opportunities for numerous species of fish. You can expect to catch walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, black bullhead, channel catfish, northern pike, and common carp. Trolling with a motorboat offers your best chances for walleye and from the shoreline try for smallmouth bass and catfish. Always check South Dakota fishing regulations before you throw your line in the water.
Water sports are plentiful at Platte Creek Recreation Area and Lake Francis Case. The 102,000 acre lake is ideal for motorized boating. There is a boat launch located near the entrance of the park. Once you launch your water craft you can go water skiing, pull an inner tube and there are plenty of options for just sightseeing or relaxing while cruising the lake. Another popular sport at the recreation area is swimming where you will find a great swimming beach within the day use area that is protected from boating.
You should put your binoculars in your campervan when you are visiting Platte Creek Recreation Area. The area is packed with lots of wildlife and bird species that are best viewed from a distance. While looking for wildlife you can see white-tail deer, mule deer, coyotes, muskrats, and prairie dogs. Bird species you will see include wild turkeys, pheasants, prairie chickens, several duck and geese species. You might also be able to watch bald eagles that are known to hunt in the lake.
Many hunters will use the campground at Platte Creek Recreation Area for their base camp. Hunting is popular in South Dakota and the recreation area offers excellent opportunities for game hunters. The grassy prairie area is home to numerous hunting birds like pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, wild turkeys, geese, ducks, and prairie chickens. Other big game options for hunters include antelope, white-tailed and mule deer. Check South Dakota hunting regulations for the appropriate season for whatever species you are hunting and never hunt on private land without permission.
There is always space in your rig to pack a few recreational items and packing your snowshoes is a great idea when visiting Platte Creek Recreation Area in the winter. There are no established trails within the recreation area but you can explore the shoreline of the frozen lake while getting some exercise. You can also try snowshoeing in the campground where you can travel the inlet near Platte Creek. When snowshoeing never travel across the frozen lake without checking with park officials for ice conditions.
Winter RVers at Platte Creek Recreation Area should take their ice fishing hut and extra warm clothing. Once Lake Francis Case freezes over you will find excellent ice fishing conditions just off the shoreline. While you are dipping your line in the frozen lake you can expect to catch walleye, catfish, and bullhead action during the winter months. Never step out on the ice without checking the weather report and talk with park officials about ice conditions.