West Bend Recreation Area is an ideal area for anglers, nature lovers, and watersport enthusiasts with a campground that has 122 campsites overall and 112 with electrical hookups. Located 35 miles southeast of Pierre, South Dakota, off of South Dakota Highway 34, near Harrold, West Bend Recreation Area is situated along the shoreline of Lake Sharpe on the Missouri River. The landscape of the recreational area is unique with plenty of prairie grasslands that are home to numerous species of wildlife, birds, and the fishing is perfect in Lake Sharpe.
Once you arrive at the West Bend Recreation Area and set up your rig, you can experience views of the vast grasslands that were once filled with roaming bison and home to several branches of the Sioux and Dakota tribes including the Lower Brule Tribe. There are plenty of exciting things to do in West Bend Recreation Area that is suitable for all types of RVers and the amenities in the campground are second-to-none. A must do for RVers and campers is to spend a few hours walking along the historic Lewis and Clark Trail that is loaded with interpretive signs explaining everything about their journey to encounters with wildlife and Native Indians of the area.
West Bend Recreation Area is a favorite to RVers during the summer months when temperatures range from the mid-70s in May to mid-90s in July and August, which makes it for ideal watersport and fishing conditions. Winter months bring colder temperatures that range from the 20s to 40s during the day.
RV Rentals in West Bend Recreation Area
Transportation in West Bend Recreation Area
RVers and larger vehicles will find driving to West Bend Recreation Area quite easy. The surrounding prairie area is generally flat with an undulating landscape that is not hard to navigate. If you are someone that is pulling an additional car or boat, which is quite common for this state park, there are a few places where you will be hindered until you reach the state park. Once you are at the state park there are a few places that can be challenging if you are pulling a trailer, car or boat. The challenging areas are mainly in the campground where you will find turning difficult while towing your additional vehicle or boat. The one-way road through the campgrounds is somewhat narrow and will require keeping concentration while driving.
Campground One consists of two loops which have tight turns and campground Two has one loop which will be hard to maneuver for some RVers or if you are pulling a trailer. Campground Three offers the easiest driving with one loop that is not narrow and has plenty of road width to navigate. While you are driving in the campground areas please adhere to the posted speed limit of 15 mph. RVers can expect to encounter children playing and bicyclists on the road. Access to the boat ramp is straightforward and you are advised to put your boat in the water as opposed to keeping at your campsite. There is plenty of parking for boat trailers in the boat ramp area.
Campgrounds and parking in West Bend Recreation Area
Campsites in West Bend Recreation Area
West Bend Recreation Area Campground One features two irregular sized loops with 57 campsites and four cabins. The 57 campsites are furnished with 50 amp electrical hookups for your rig as well as a picnic table and fire ring. The campground is the closest to the Missouri River and Lake Sharpe. Water is available at several spigots located throughout both loops. Each campsite has a paved parking area for your RV or trailer which is generally flat with no need for more than basic leveling devices. The campground area features lush grass which is maintained during the summer season and there are plenty of trees for shade. Other facilities within the campground include vault toilets (open in the winter months too), and hot showers and flush toilets, which are generally closed during the off-season. There is a playground located between campground one and two for children as well as a fish cleaning station and a dump station located near the entrance to the park. Generators are allowed from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a 10-foot leash.
West Bend Recreation Area Campground Two has one loop with 27 campsites that are furnished with 50 amp hookups. There is one pull through site for larger RVs or trailers. The campground has paved parking areas that are flat with little need for leveling devices. Amenities within the campground include vault toilets (open in the winter too), flush toilets and hot showers. There is a children’s playground located between campground one and two. The campsites have a grassy area that features a picnic table and fire ring as well as plenty of trees for shade. RVs and trailers are limited to 50 feet in length. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. There is a fish cleaning station and dump station situated near the entrance of the park. Pet must be restrained by a 10-foot leash.
West Bend Campground Three has one loop with 33 campsites and 22 campsites are furnished with 30 amp electricity hookup. The campground is located the farthest from the Missouri River and is the closest to the entrance station of the park. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. Campsites have grassy areas with plenty of trees for shade at each site. There are paved parking pads at each campsite which are generally level. The campground has fresh water stations and vault toilets. There are no flush toilets or showers within campground three. RVs and trailers are limited to 50 feet in length. There is a fish cleaning station and dump station situated near the park’s entrance. Generators may be used between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a 10-foot leash.
There are no first-come, first-served options at this state park.
Seasonal activities in West Bend Recreation Area
Fishing is a popular thing to do in West Bend Recreation Area. You can expect excellent fishing conditions on the Missouri River near Lake Sharpe. Types of fish you can expect to catch include walleye, lake trout, and various species of bass from large to small mouth. Most fishing takes place from a boat and the park has a boat ramp. You can also try your luck from the shoreline with the same expectations of catching a walleye or bass. In June the area hosts the Wessington Fishing Derby which attract anglers from the around the United States and Canada.
Water and Jet Skiing
A great thing to do in West Bend Recreation Area is to go water skiing, jet skiing, or swimming. The Missouri River and Lake Sharpe offer excellent conditions for water and jet skiing when the wind is calm. There is a superb beach area where you can build a sandcastle or go swimming if the water is not running too high. Water skiers can take advantage of the boat ramp and there is plenty of space on the river for mooring.
The prairie landscape boasts a number of great off-trail hikes for you to experience. During the spring and summer months, hikers can view numerous wild flowers that range from fireweed and prairie lilies to scarlet mallow d wild columbines. As you travel off trail, you must be aware of snakes in the prairie grass which can pose a threat. A great idea is to stop by the entrance station to buy a handbook guide to help identify the various species of flowers in bloom.
Hunters tend to flock to West Bend Recreation Area in the fall and winter. If you are hunting, the state park offers an excellent place to make camp. There is plenty of prairie landscape where you can expect to find duck, pheasant, Canadian geese, and white-tail deer for the taking. Hunting dogs are permitted as well as duck blinds and other hunting apparatuses South Dakota hunting regulations apply and you should check the regulations before setting off with your rifle.
Bird watching is a perfect thing to do during your RV getaway to the West Bend Recreation Area. Throw in a pair of binoculars before you leave the house in order to be able to view more species. You can find excellent viewing places along the Missouri River and inland throughout the prairie landscape. Species most common to the area include the rose-breasted and black-headed grosbeak, burrowing owl, white pelican, and western meadowlarks.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
West Bend Recreation Area boasts excellent conditions during the winter months for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There are no groomed trails within the park but there is plenty of wide open prairie land for you to explore. Snow depths are generally sufficient through the winter months with the area receiving up to twelve feet of snow annually. While you are exploring on your snowshoes or cross-country skis, make sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife such as pronghorn and white-tail deer.