Palisades state park


Palisades State Park is a state park of South Dakota, USA. It is located in the extreme northeast corner of the state, on the border with Minnesota and Iowa. The park preserves a dramatic section of the palisades of the Big Sioux River. The park offers camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

History of the Palisades state park:

A squirrel on a branch

The area was historically used by the Sioux people. The cliffs were one of several locations referred to as “the palisades” along the course of the Big Sioux River. It was also known as a game crossing and attracted early French trappers, traders, and explorers such as Francois Marie Perrin du Lac in 1804, Joseph LaFramboise in 1819, and Baptiste Recoyez in 1844. The area was settled by French Canadians and European Americans who engaged in farming and ranching, including the Rumley family who established a homestead on the bluffs in 1865–1866. It became part of George S. Mickelson Trail in 1998.

When was the park established?

A close up of a coral

The park was established in 1969 as Palisades State Park and later renamed Palisades-Kepler State Park. It was redesignated as a state park of South Dakota in 2017.

What are some of the activities available at the Palisades state park?

The park offers camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Hiking trails include the Little Sioux Scout Trail and the Mickelson National Recreation Trail. There is also a nature center with exhibits on the natural history of the area.

Are there any historical sites in the park?

Yes. There are several sites in the park that commemorate the history of the area, including a monument to Francois Marie Perrin du Lac, a replica of a fur trader’s cabin, and an interpretive panel on the history of the palisades.

How large is the park?

The park is 9,920 acres.

Is there any wildlife here?

Yes. There are white-tailed deer, opossum, raccoon, gray squirrels, red foxes, coyotes, and badgers in the park. There are also a variety of birds, including bald eagles, turkey vultures, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, common grackles, brown-headed cowbirds, and northern cardinal. The park is also home to numerous plant species, including big bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass, little bluestem, needle-and-thread grass, side oats grama, western wheatgrass, and prairie blazing star.

How many people visit the park every year?

The park has had more than 600,000 visitors since 2012. The peak visitation season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

What are the park’s hours?

The park is open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Is the park wheelchair accessible?

Some areas of the park are wheelchair accessible, but there are no specifically designed trails or facilities for people with disabilities. The nature center is wheelchair accessible.

Are pets allowed in the park?

Pets are welcome in most areas of the park, but they must be kept on a leash or under voice control at all times. Pets are not permitted in buildings, playgrounds, golf courses, boardwalks, pools, and some other designated areas.

Is there any food or drink available in the park?

Yes. There is a concession stand at the park entrance that sells snacks, drinks, and ice cream. There are also picnic areas with tables and grills where visitors can prepare their own meals.

What is the nearest town to the park?

The nearest town is Marcus, which is about 5 miles east of the park.

Is there any entrance fee?

No. There is no entrance fee for Palisades State Park. However, there may be fees for camping, fishing, and other activities. For more information, visit the park website or contact the park office.

What makes it different from others?

Palisades State Park is different from other state parks because of its dramatic scenery and historical significance. The park offers a unique opportunity to experience the cliffs that were historically used by the Sioux people. It also has a nature center with exhibits on the natural history of the area.

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