Formed when Garrison Dam was built to control water from the Missouri River in central North Dakota, Lake Sakakawea lies about 80 kilometers to the northwest of Bismarck. This, however, is the shortest distance — by air no less – between the two areas. Driving from Bismarck to the lake almost quadruples the trip to 300 kilometers.
From the Roughrider state’s capital city, you can get to the lake by taking Interstate 94 W making a right at Exit 61 in Dickinson to N Dakota 22 N. When your get to BIA Road 12, turn right then make a left at BIA Road 13.
Lake Sakakawea State Park is on the southern shore of the lake next to Garrison Dam. It is at the western end of the North Country National Scenic Trail that starts at Crown Point in eastern New York, making it a great finale to the picturesque trail.
Originally named the Garrison Lake State Park by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that first developed the area in the 1950s, it was renamed Lake Sakakawea State Park in 1965 when its management passed to the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department.
Sakakawea was the Shoshone/Hidatsa Native American woman Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met in North Dakota; she, of course, accompanied them in their expedition in the early 1800s as their interpreter and guide. In other accounts, she was referred to as Sacagawea or Sacajawea but the Native Americans in North Dakota believe her real name was Sakakawea. In honor of the role she played in the expedition, the lake and the state park were named after her.
Lake Sakakawea State Park boasts of a full-service marina where you can rent boats and purchase food or marine supplies that you may need for your boating and water trips. Guide services are also available in case you are new to the area. To keep your boat and camper safe, mooring and garage services are also offered. In addition, there are two huge boat ramps that provide access to some of the most scenic areas on the lake.
For those who would rather stay on solid ground, there are picnic shelters and as many as 192 campsites both for those who choose to sleep in tents and in their RVs. Some of these sites are provided with electricity. There are also cabins for rent if you are more comfortable sleeping inside a real house.
Showers and an RV dump station are also available.
The main activities at the Lake Sakakawea State Park are water based. These include swimming and boating.
You can also picnic in the park, and hike or bike the trails within, particularly the portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail that ends within the park’s area and enjoy its majestic view.
If you are into bird watching, you will have a grand time looking for and identifying the over 135 bird species that frequent the area. Of these, 45 species are included in the Natural Heritage Inventory list of the state’s rare species. In winter, the park becomes a haven for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.
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Directions: Travel one mile north past the city of Pick
|Park Name:||Lake Sakakawea State Park||Showers:||Yes|
|State Park:||Yes||Electrical Hookups:||Yes|
|State:||North Dakota||Horses Allowed:||No|
|Phone Number:||(701) 487-3315||Boating:||Yes|
|Toll Free Number:||Canoeing:||Yes|
|Reservation Number:||Water Skiing:||Yes|
|Biking:||Yes||Others:||Western end of the North|
|Cabins & Lodging:||No||Tent Camping:||Yes|
Admission into the park costs $5 per day per vehicle, but you can always get a $25-pass that will get you into the park the whole year round. For use of the campsites, you need to pay $12 a night, $20 if you want to use electric power. A cabin, on the other hand, costs $40.
Hours and Seasons:
Lake Sakakawea State Park is open for the whole year, offering both summer and winter activities.