Monday, March 16, 2009

Pierre area trails

One thing you won't find lacking in South Dakota's capitol city is trails. With over 50 miles of hiking/biking trails in the area, Pierre has begun marketing itself as the "Trails Capitol of South Dakota."

Center point for the trail system is the Missouri River bridge that separates the towns of Pierre and Fort Pierre. From the trailhead downstream from the bridge it is 5.3 miles to Farm Island Recreation Area southeast of town and 6 miles to Oahe Dam north of town. It is also a good starting point for the trails on LaFramboise Island.

Over the weekend I took a hike on the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Trail which follows the banks of the Missouri River from in town to Farm Island. As the sun just began to melt the frozen footprints of earlier travelers, I thought about the photos I've been able to shoot along this stretch over the last few years.

Pierre's trails range in surface from very nice graded gravel as above to paved paths and also single track bicycle trails on the islands.

With just a little walking, a photographer can find plentiful wildlife for picture taking. Hundreds of species of birds make their home along the river, as well as deer and other critters.

On almost all of the Pierre area trails, the mighty Missouri River is your constant companion. Breaks in the trees offer views of ducks floating along the current or fishermen and boaters enjoying the expansive water.

Even in winter, the hiking trails offer scenic beauty as well as the chance to see huge flocks of geese and many eagles and hawks migrating through the seasons.

More information and maps can be found at the Pierre Economic Development Corporation's website by clicking here.

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