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Pelican Lake Recreation Area

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General Information

Description - For those who enjoy a wide variety of activities, Pelican Lake is the place to come. Nestled among a grove of conifer trees, campers can enjoy the shade while still being close to the sandy beach, prairie trails and the boat dock. Naturalists enjoy the migrating birds and vast numbers of prairie grasses and wildflowers. Winter enthusiasts appreciate the park’s cross-country ski trails, ice fishing and South Dakota’s largest snowmobile system that lies next to the park.

Attractions - Camping & Fees: $13/site. 46 campsites with electricity. Showers. Water. Dump station. Horse Camp: $13/site. Six electrical sites.

Camping Cabins: Two cabins, one wheelchair accessible. Each sleep four people. $32/night.

Pelican Lake offers a good number of campsites on the waterfront as well as two cabins with lake views. A comfort station is located in the primary campground and a playground is near the swimming beach.

The park is also located in prime pheasant hunting area, making it a popular camping and use area each fall among sportsmen.

Recreation - Pelican Lake is a popular stopping point for migrating waterfowl. Each fall, geese and ducks use the lake's open waters as a resting area. A variety of shore birds spend their entire summer in or near the park.

Most noticeable are the large white pelicans that frequent the lake. Pelicans were so numerous when the region was first settled that the lake was named in their honor. An observation tower on one of the hiking trails gives visitors somewhat of a bird's-eye view of the area.

Horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers will find approximately 5.2 miles of marked trails, winding through prairie areas and lakeshore shelterbelts.

A horse camp and parking area are available to individuals and groups at the trail head. Facilities include camping, nearby vault toilets, water, fire grates and hitching posts. Horseback riders traveling west to the Black Hills find the horse camp at Pelican Lake an excellent stopover point to exercise their horses.

Location - Located 9 miles SW of Watertown off US Hwy. 212

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More Information

Contact Information:
Pelican Lake Recreation Area , 400 West Kemp , Watertown, South Dakota, 57201, Phone: PelicanLake@state.sd.us
, (605) 882-5200

Additional Information:
South Dakota State Parks -


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