Lake Thompson Recreation Area

Map of TRACK Trail at Lake Thompson Recreation Area

The Lake Thompson Recreation Area TRACK Trail adventures follow the Prairie View Trail.

The Prairie View Trail is an easy 1-mile loop, with the option of a shorter loop. The trail passes through a tall grass prairie and offers great views of one of the largest lakes in South Dakota. 

Originally called Dry Woods Lake by American Indians, the lake was renamed for Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior under President James Buchanan. In the 1930s, the lake was completely dry and used for pasture. In the 1980s, the area was a 9,000-acre marsh. Heavy rains and snowmelt in the mid-80s filled the lake to over 20 feet deep. The lake is so distinct it was designated as a National Natural Landmark.

Have fun as you travel the trail, exploring the park and discovering its wonders!

Track an adventure here
Collectible sticker for Lake Thompson

Location Details

Recreational Features: Paved Bike Path, Mountain Bike Trails, Canoe / Kayak, Camping, Picnic Tables, Fishing, Interpretive Programs, Birding
Amenities: Restrooms
ADA Compliant: Partial
Seasonality:
Colorful sunset over Lake Thompson
View over the lake
Road crossing the lake

Adventures for Lake Thompson Recreation Area

Nature's Hide and Seek brochure
Hiking

Lake Thompson: Nature's Hide n' Seek

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.00
The Nature's Hide & Seek brochure is designed so that kids of all ages can walk along the trail and discover common things that are often overlooked in nature. Some of them are hard to find, others are easy. Best of all, the adventure never ends because every time you walk the trail you will discover new things hiding in nature.
Bug Out brochure
Hiking

Lake Thompson: Bug Out

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.00
The "Bug Out" brochure is an investigation into the creepy crawlies of the forest. This adventure will help kids learn how to tell the difference between insects, spiders and other arthropods... as well as identify some of the more common bugs along the trail.
Need for Trees brochure
Hiking

Lake Thompson: The Need for Trees

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.00
By following the picture and text clues found in "The Need for Trees" brochure, kids will discover six of the more common trees found along the trail. During their adventure, kids will learn about the need that people and other animals have for trees and about the roles trees play in the forest.
Birds of South Dakota brochure
Hiking

Lake Thompson: Birds of South Dakota

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.00
The Birds of the South Dakota brochure shows kids where to look for different birds along the trail. The brochure contains illustrations of some of the more common woodland birds and information on how to identify them through various clues.

Directions

21176 Flood Club Road
Lake Preston, SD 57249
Latitude: 44.321875600000
Longitude: -97.444038200000

Northeastern South Dakota: 6 miles southwest of Lake Preston off US Hwy 14

Partners

The TRACK Trail program is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

The Lake Thompson Recreation Area TRACK Trail was made possible thorugh a partnership formed between Kids in Parks and South Dakota State Parks.