Spirit Mound Historic Prairie

Map of TRACK Trail at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie

The Spirit Mound Historic Prairie TRACK Trail follows the Spirit Mound Trail. This fully-accessible gravel trail is 1.5 miles round-trip.

The Spirit Mound was known by many Native American tribes and was visited by Lewis and Clark on August 25th, 1804.


August 25, 1804, was a stiflingly hot day when members of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery visited Spirit Mound. They came to the site because they had heard that little people with big heads inhabited the mound. At the mound the expedition didn't find any little people, but did find a "most butifull landscape."

Years later, the Flood Control Act of 1944, authorized the construction of six main dams in the Missouri River Basin. In addition to flood control, the intent of this act was to provide hydroelectric power. With the damming of the river, most of the sites where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped or visited are now underwater. There are very few places where a person can stand today and know that Lewis and Clark stood in the same exact location. Spirit Mound is one of those few special sites.

Prairie Restoration

In order to provide Spirit Mound visitors with an opportunity similar to what Lewis and Clark experienced, the site is being restored. Prairie grasses and other native plants are being reestablished. The prairie restoration began in 2001 and will take decades of growth before it becomes a good representation of the prairie as seen by the expedition.

Track an adventure here
Collectible Sticker for Spirit Mound Historic Prairie

Location Details

Recreational Features: Birding
Amenities: Restrooms
ADA Compliant: Partial
Seasonality: Open all year
Trail through field of tall yellow flowers
Trail on the left of the mound
Bench in the prairie
Yellow flowers close up
Spirit Mound sign in a field
Sign beside trail in a field of yellow flowers
Kids in Parks trail head sign and kiosk
Bench, water fountain, and trash can alongside of the trail
Trail near the summit of Spirit Mound rising in the center
Close up of a purple flower
Rock commemorating the visit of the Lewis and Clark expedition to Spirit Mound

Adventures for Spirit Mound Historic Prairie


Animal Athletes

Trail length:
The Animal Athletes adventure challenges kids to exercise with the animals. This brochure gives kids eight different animal exercises they can do along the trail. From hummingbird hand-swings to frog hops, kids are sure to have fun getting in shape with the animals during their outdoor adventures.
Birds of South Dakota brochure

Birds of South Dakota

Trail length:
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.

Nature's Hide & Seek

Trail length:
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.
The Need for Trees brochure

The Need For Trees

Trail length:
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.


31148 SD Hwy 19
Vermillion, SD 57069
Latitude: 42.873721800000
Longitude: -96.954217700000

Southeastern South Dakota: 5 miles north of Vermillion off SD Hwy 19



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 Spirit Mound Historic Prairie TRACK Trail was made possible through partnerships formed between the Kids in Parks program and the South Dakota State Parks Department, with funds provided by South Dakota Department of Health, Healthy South Dakota Program.