Cottonwood Recreation Area


Cottonwood Recreation Area is located just downstream of Gavins Point Dam and Lewis & Clark Lake along the western shore of Lake Yankton. The numerous outdoor recreational opportunities attract more than 2 million visitors annually to the Lewis & Clark Lake area, making it one of the most popular recreation destinations in the Upper Great Plains. Lewis & Clark Lake is 31,400-acres in size with more than 90 miles of shoreline is impounded by Gavins Point Dam, which was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, commonly called the Pick-Sloan Plan.
For more information about Lewis and Clark Lake, please visit the Gavins Point Project website .


Facilities

All 77 campsites have electric hookups, and all sites are reservable. Two modern shower houses with flush toilets are available for campers. A playground, horseshoe pits and picnic shelter are available within the campground and the adjacent Day-Use Area has a large reservable picnic shelter, picnic area, accessible fishing dock, disc golf course and a boat ramp for access to Lake Yankton. Nearby Training Dike Day-Use Area has a popular swimming beach on Lake Yankton along with access to the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam. A RV dump station is located just north of Cottonwood Campground off of Toe Road. 

Nearby attractions

The Lewis and Clark Visitor Center: Contains exhibits on the Missouri River and area history including the Lewis and Clark Expedition with stunning views of Lewis and Clark Lake along with the Missouri River. Powerhouse Tours are available on weekends. Please contact the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center at (402) 667-2546 for more information. The Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium   Visit nearby Yankton, South Dakota - the historic capitol of the Dakota Territory.

Natural feaures

Cottonwood Recreation Area is located in the in the lush golden chalkstone-lined Missouri River Valley. Many visitors to the lake area prefer to stay at Cottonwood because of the calmer, quieter waters of Lake Yankton, a much smaller lake of approximately 250-acres in size - versus the much larger Lewis and Clark Lake upstream of the dam. Lake Yankton provides excellent habitat for a variety of waterfowl and other bird species. The area abounds with wildlife including Whitetail Deer, turkeys, and other game species. Bald Eagles and other birds of prey are spotted by visitors regularly due to the great fishing opportunities available year-round. 

Recreation

Cottonwood Recreation Area is conveniently located between Lewis and Clark Lake and Lake Yankton. Lewis and Clark Lake is known for great boating, sailing, swimming and other water-based recreation activities. Lake Yankton is popular with families as a popular fishing spot along with the excellent kayaking, canoeing and paddling opportunities. Numerous paved, multi-use trails connect the area with the additional numerous recreation areas located along Lewis and Clark Lake, Lake Yankton and the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark Lake attracts more than 2 million visitors each year to its shores. Recreation opportunities around the lake include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, sailing, swimming, bird-watching, and photography.  For the biking and hiking enthusiasts, three trails are available in the area. They include a paved trail that runs from Yankton to the Gavins Point area, a multi-use trail in the Gavins Point area and the Calumet Bluff hiking trail located near the visitor center. Wintertime activities include ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and sledding.  Developed public parks and recreation areas surround the lake above and below Gavins Point Dam. Camping facilities provided by the Corps and the States of South Dakota and Nebraska include marinas, boat ramps, trails, campsites with electricity, modern restrooms, playground equipment and trailer dump stations.


Driving directions to Cottonwood Recreation Area

From U.S. Hwy 81 in Yankton, South Dakota, drive four miles west on South Dakota Highway 52, then south on Dam Toe Road and follow signs.

Location and contact info

Toe Road, SD 57078

For campground inquires, please call:402-667-2546. FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL 877-444-6777.

Cottonwood Recreation Area details

  • Campfire allowed
  • Checkin time: 4:00 PM
  • Checkout time: 2:00 PM
  • Location rating: Prime
  • Max num of people: 8
  • Max num of vehicles: 10
  • Max vehicle length: 60
  • Pets allowed
  • Site rating: Prime
  • Hike in distance to site:
Camping with an RV

Camping with an RV

Have you ever wanted to sleep at the foot of a mountain or wake up to the sound of the ocean’s waves gently crashing on the shore? When on a road trip, do you like to stop at every weird and wonderful roadside attraction? Do you ever just want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get out into the great outdoors? Then renting an RV is definitely for you.

Camping in an RV allows you to adventure on your terms. Whether you’re looking to bond over an open fire with family and friends or you just want to get away for a while, there’s no better way to do it than from behind the wheel of an RV.

How Outdoorsy Works

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Find the perfect RV

Choose your location, dates, and send the owner a request to book.

2

Delivery or Pickup

Arrange a pick up time with the owner or have it delivered to your driveway or destination.

Let us help

Most owners have the option to deliver and set up the RV right to your destination.

3

Adventure awaits!

Enjoy the freedom of the open road nd the assurance of 24/7 roadside assistance.

After your trip, return the RV to the owner on the same condition you recieved it.

Amenities at Cottonwood Recreation Area

  • other

    Shade

  • RV Hookups

    Electricity hookup

  • supplies

    BBQ

    Fire pit

    Picnic table


Activities at Cottonwood Recreation Area

Water access

Camping

Hiking

Picnicking

Wildlife viewing

Disc golf

Boating

Fishing

Paddling

Biking

Photography

Day use area

Playground park specialized sport site

Kayaking

Canoeing

Birding


Every new RVers biggest concern? How to dump RV waste. But don’t fret! We have Outdoorsy community member, Mike Jackson, to talk you through it.
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Find the perfect RV for Cottonwood Recreation Area

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Trailer

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Trailers you can tow with passenger vehicles or SUVs. A great way to transform average cars into adventure cars.

Fifth-Wheel

Larger trailers that attach to towing vehicles with a gooseneck extension in the truck bed.

Toy Hauler

Living quarters in the front with dedicated space for hauling motorcycles or other “toys” in the back.

Utility Trailer

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Class C

Popular with small families and first-time RV drivers who want a little more room than a van. Comparable to driving a truck.

Camper Van

The smallest and nimblest of fully enclosed RVs. Drives like a van. Loves posing for Instagram.

Class B

A formal-sounding name for camper van, but just as photogenic.

Class A

Drivers should be comfortable driving bus-sized vehicles and dealing with parking limitations. Great for delivery.

Truck Camper

If you can drive a truck, you can drive a truck camper. Makes roughing it significantly less rough.

Other

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Questions about RVs?

Q.

What type of RV should I choose?

A.

Start by determining how many people are planning to travel with you. Going on a solo-journey? Choose a camper van or a teardrop trailer. Bringing the whole family along for the ride? Consider a spacious Class A or five-wheel.

You’ll also want to consider amenities. For example, if you’re planning to cook on the road, you’ll want a kitchenette. If your campground doesn’t have public restrooms, you’ll want to search RVs with bathrooms. Check out full descriptions of our models to help you decide here.


Q.

Do the RVs have bathrooms?

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Yes. Class A’s, Class B’s, and Class C’s and five-Wheels typically have bathrooms. Depending on where you plan on camping, you’ll want to double-check the availability of restrooms if selecting a rig without a bathroom. Nervous about renting an RV with a bathroom? Owners can help show you how to clean the tank or will offer to do it for you for a fee.


Q.

How does check-in work?

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Once an Owner approves your RV reservation, you can coordinate a time to pick up your rig or have it delivered to your doorstep or campsite. At that point, the owner will do a key exchange with you and walk you through the RV and answer any questions you might have.