Not to be confused with the state park of the same name in Iowa, Union Grove State Park in South Dakota is an excellent stopover for weary RV travelers needing to rest their heads after a long night driving down nearby I-29.
Union Grove is a haven for hikers of all types exploring the multi-use trails on foot, bike, horseback, or even skis in the winter. Though hiking is one of the most popular activities here, the park's 500 acres offer plenty of space to escape the concrete jungle and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Wildlife watchers are in for a real treat here; these woods are home to all sorts of birds and mammals. Be aware that the park is open to hunters, though, so practice caution during hunting season and stay on the main hiking trails.
When you're ready to get back on the road again, I-29 is a stone's throw from the park, taking RV travelers north into the town of Beresford and south into Elk Point, making Union Grove State Park an excellent stopover for road-trippers motoring through scenic South Dakota!
Union Grove State Park is nestled in dense forest, and it can be a little hard to find from the highway, so use coordinates if relying on GPS. Internal roads are paved and present few road hazards, but drive carefully if visiting in winter. I-29 leads into the town of Beresford, where campers can refuel and restock before continuing on their travels.
Parking is limited at Union Grove State Park. A small lot is located by the scenic overview area near one of the picnic shelters. Campsites are level, gravel, and well-shaded. A daily parking fee applies in addition to camping fees.
The cozy campground at Union Grove State Park offers just 21 sites for tent and RV campers. Big rigs are more than welcome here -- sites accommodate vehicles between 30 and 85 feet long. Only electric hookups are available, but 20, 30, and 50-amp service are provided. Amenities include seasonal restroom and shower facilities, vault toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, and a dump station.
This campground welcomes well-mannered four-legged friends with open arms -- that includes dogs and horses! In fact, in addition to the park's 21 standard campsites, four equestrian sites are available for overnight guests traveling with their favorite horse hiker in tow. Contact the park directly with any inquiries regarding equestrian campers.
Reservations are highly recommended for RV campers requiring a spacious site with electric hookups. Campers can reserve their site up to 90 days prior to arrival through South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks website. While the park is open year-round, the campground is open from April to October.
The park's multi-use trail network is just under four-and-a-half miles long and welcomes horseback riders, cyclists, hikers, and skiers in the winter. Prefer to avoid the more trafficked trails? Stick to the hiking-only trail, just over a mile long. No matter which path you take, you can expect up-close views of the creek as well as the park's flora and fauna.
Chow down al fresco style at one of Union Grove's picnic areas. Several shelters are located throughout the park and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're looking to enjoy dinner with a view, unpack your picnic lunch at one of the tables by the scenic overview area, not far from the horse camp.
Those who are batty for birds will find a feast for the eyes at Union Grove State Park. Standard species include turkeys, warblers, and blackbirds. More exotic frequent flyers include orioles, grosbeaks, and bluejays. Check out the state park's webpage for a full listing of bird species on offer.
For the winter wanderers in your camping crew, Union Grove State Park is a prime place to break in those new skis! You'll need to keep a few things in mind when planning your cross-country skiing excursion, though. While the cross-country trails are groomed and well-maintained, most of them are open to two-way traffic -- keep to the left on two-way trails. Be sure to check the cross-country ski trail map on the official state park website when planning your route.
This quiet park is a gem among amateur and professional photographers alike. Grab your camera and take to the woods in search of the perfect shot. Fall is a prime time to visit -- you'll want to capture the colorful kaleidoscope of the changing leaves. Brave the winter cold and be rewarded with some truly special shots of the snow-covered groves.
Union Grove is a popular destination for deer, turkey, and pheasant hunters from October to April. All types of hunting are permitted; however, certain restrictions apply. Unholstered firearms and bows are not allowed in the campground or picnic areas, and a current hunting license is required. For more information on rules and regulations, contact the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department.