La Framboise Island Trail In South Dakota

Here is everything you need to know about the La Framboise Island Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: South Dakota
  • Length: 7 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Bismarck Parks and Recreation District
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The La Framboise Island Trail holds a significant place in the history of South Dakota. Named after Joseph La Framboise, a prominent fur trader and explorer, the trail was established in the early 19th century as a vital transportation route for the fur trade industry. La Framboise Island, located in the Missouri River near present-day Pierre, served as a strategic trading post and a gathering point for Native American tribes and European traders.

During the early 1800s, the trail became a crucial link between the Missouri River and the Black Hills region, facilitating the movement of furs, supplies, and people. Traders, trappers, and explorers utilized the trail to navigate the rugged terrain and reach the rich fur-bearing areas of the Black Hills. The trail also played a pivotal role in connecting the Native American tribes of the Great Plains with European traders, fostering cultural exchange and economic interactions.

As the fur trade declined in the mid-19th century, the La Framboise Island Trail gradually lost its significance. However, its historical importance remains evident in the remnants of old trading posts, campsites, and artifacts that can still be found along the trail. Today, the La Framboise Island Trail serves as a reminder of the region’s vibrant past and offers visitors a glimpse into the early days of exploration, trade, and cultural exchange in South Dakota.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. La Framboise Island Nature Area Parking Lot: This is the main access point for the La Framboise Island Trail. It is located at the end of North River Road in Pierre, South Dakota.

2. Steamboat Park: This access point is located on the east side of the Missouri River, near the Steamboat Park Campground. It provides an alternative starting point for the trail.

3. Farm Island Recreation Area: Located on the west side of the Missouri River, Farm Island Recreation Area offers another access point to the La Framboise Island Trail. It is a popular spot for camping, fishing, and boating.

4. Oahe Downstream Recreation Area: Situated downstream from the Oahe Dam, this recreation area provides access to the trail. It offers various recreational activities, including camping, hiking, and fishing.

5. Griffin Park: Located on the east side of the Missouri River, Griffin Park is another access point for the La Framboise Island Trail. It offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and beautiful views of the river.

6. Downstream Campground: This campground is situated on the west side of the Missouri River, near the Oahe Dam. It provides access to the trail and offers camping facilities.

7. La Framboise Island: The trail itself circles around La Framboise Island, so any point along the trail can be considered an access point. There are multiple parking areas and trailheads scattered around the island.

Note: It is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail maps for the most up-to-date information on access points and trailheads along the La Framboise Island Trail.

Transportation Available

1. City Bus – Public bus service that provides transportation to various locations in the area.
2. Taxi – On-demand taxi service for convenient transportation.
3. Ride-Sharing (Uber/Lyft) – App-based transportation service offering rides with local drivers.
4. Bike Rental – Rent a bike to explore the trail and surrounding areas.
5. Car Rental – Rent a car for personal transportation needs.
6. Shuttle Service – Scheduled shuttle service for transportation to and from specific locations.
7. Water Taxi – Boat transportation service for crossing water bodies or exploring nearby islands.
8. Pedicab – Bicycle-powered taxi service for short-distance transportation.
9. Limousine Service – Luxury transportation service for special occasions or events.
10. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the nearest airport.


The amenities available at the La Framboise Island Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available for visitors to use during their visit to the trail.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots where visitors can park their vehicles while accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and policies, there may be designated camping sites available for visitors who wish to camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack amidst the natural surroundings.

5. Benches and Seating: There might be benches or seating areas along the trail where visitors can rest and take in the views.

6. Information Boards: There may be information boards or signs along the trail providing details about the flora, fauna, history, or other relevant information.

7. Trash Receptacles: There might be trash receptacles placed along the trail to encourage visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

8. Interpretive Displays: Depending on the trail’s features, there may be interpretive displays or educational exhibits providing information about the local ecosystem, wildlife, or cultural significance.

9. Drinking Water Stations: There could be drinking water stations or fountains available along the trail for visitors to stay hydrated.

10. Accessibility Features: The trail might have accessibility features such as ramps, handrails, or paved paths to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the trail management or relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. La Quinta Inn & Suites Bismarck – Comfortable lodging option near La Framboise Island Trail.
2. Comfort Inn & Suites Mandan – Convenient hotel located close to the trail.
3. Super 8 by Wyndham Bismarck – Affordable accommodation option near the trail.
4. Subway – Quick and tasty food service option nearby.
5. McDonald’s – Popular fast-food chain offering quick meals.
6. Taco Bell – Mexican-inspired fast-food restaurant near the trail.
7. Bismarck Emergency Medical Services – Emergency medical services available in the area.

La Framboise Island Trail Difficulty Notes

The La Framboise Island Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles long and features a variety of terrain, including flat sections, gentle inclines, and some rocky areas. While the trail is generally well-maintained, there may be some uneven surfaces and exposed tree roots, requiring hikers to watch their step. Additionally, the trail offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Missouri River, which adds to the overall enjoyment of the hike. Overall, the La Framboise Island Trail is suitable for hikers of moderate fitness levels who are looking for a moderately challenging and rewarding outdoor experience.

Features And Attractions

The La Framboise Island Trail is located in Pierre, South Dakota, and offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. La Framboise Island: The trail itself circles around La Framboise Island, providing beautiful views of the Missouri River and the surrounding landscape.

2. Steamboat Park: Located near the trailhead, Steamboat Park offers a scenic overlook of the Missouri River and the historic steamboat landing site.

3. Oahe Dam: While not directly on the trail, Oahe Dam is a short drive away and offers stunning views of Lake Oahe, one of the largest reservoirs in the United States.

4. South Dakota State Capitol: The trail passes near the South Dakota State Capitol building, which is an impressive architectural landmark and worth a visit.

5. Cultural Heritage Center: Situated close to the trail, the Cultural Heritage Center showcases the history and culture of South Dakota through exhibits and artifacts.

6. Verendrye Monument: This historical site commemorates the visit of the Verendrye brothers, who were French explorers, to the area in 1743. It offers a panoramic view of the Missouri River.

7. Farm Island Recreation Area: Located near the trail, Farm Island Recreation Area is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. It features scenic trails and beautiful views of the river.

8. American Creek Campground: This campground is situated along the trail and provides a peaceful setting for camping, picnicking, and enjoying the natural surroundings.

9. Native American Heritage Site: The trail passes through an area with historical significance to Native American tribes, offering an opportunity to learn about their culture and history.

10. Wildlife Viewing: The La Framboise Island Trail is known for its diverse wildlife, including various bird species, deer, and other small mammals. Keep an eye out for these natural inhabitants along the trail.

These are just a few of the attractions and landmarks along the La Framboise Island Trail. Exploring the trail will provide a unique blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted on the island.
– Fires and barbecues are not allowed on the trail.
– Littering is strictly prohibited; please dispose of trash in designated bins.
– Hunting or fishing is not allowed on the trail.
– Swimming or wading in the river is not recommended.
– The trail may be closed during certain seasons or for maintenance purposes; check for any posted restrictions or closures before visiting.

Seasonal Information

The La Framboise Island Trail, located in Pierre, South Dakota, offers a picturesque and serene experience for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. When planning a visit to this beautiful trail, it is essential to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy its offerings.

One of the most popular times to visit the La Framboise Island Trail is during the spring season, particularly from April to June. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and occasional rainfall. Springtime also brings an abundance of bird species, making it an ideal period for birdwatching enthusiasts. The trail offers stunning views of the Missouri River, and the surrounding foliage is lush and green, creating a picturesque backdrop for hikers and nature photographers.

Another great time to visit the La Framboise Island Trail is during the fall season, from September to November. As the leaves change colors, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn hues. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and the absence of summer crowds allows for a more peaceful and intimate experience. Fall is also an excellent time for wildlife spotting, as animals prepare for the winter months, and the trail offers a tranquil setting to observe their activities.

It is important to note that the La Framboise Island Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions. During the winter months, from December to February, the trail may be closed or have limited access due to snowfall and icy conditions. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, occasional flooding along the Missouri River can lead to temporary closures or detours on the trail. Staying updated on weather conditions and any trail advisories is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to the La Framboise Island Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: The La Framboise Island Trail is wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to enjoy the scenic beauty of the island.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, ensuring a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available near the trail, providing accessible facilities for individuals with disabilities.
4. Handicap Parking: Designated handicap parking spaces are available near the trail entrance, allowing easy access for individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail offers accessible picnic areas equipped with tables and benches, providing a comfortable space for individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor meals.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: The trail features clear signage and wayfinding markers, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate the trail easily.
7. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.
8. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the trail, providing support and assistance to individuals with disabilities.
9. Accessible Information: The trail provides accessible information, such as braille or large print materials, to ensure individuals with visual impairments can access relevant information about the trail.
10. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail offers frequent benches and rest areas, providing opportunities for individuals with mobility challenges to take breaks and rest along the way.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The La Framboise Island Trail is an easy, flat trail suitable for all skill levels.
2. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 2.5 miles long, providing a moderate-length hike or bike ride.
3. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is exposed and lacks shade.
4. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
5. Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites, especially during the summer months.
6. Trail Markings: Follow the clearly marked trail signs and stay on the designated path to avoid getting lost.
7. Water Availability: Bring an adequate supply of water, as there are no water sources along the trail.
8. Footwear: Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes suitable for walking or biking on uneven terrain.
9. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of wildlife such as snakes or small mammals that may be present on the island.
10. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding to pedestrians, keeping noise levels down, and leaving no trace behind.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the La Framboise Island Trail is considered to be in good condition. The trail is well-maintained and regularly monitored by local authorities and conservation organizations. Efforts have been made to preserve the natural habitat and protect the biodiversity of the area.

The trail is located within a designated conservation area, ensuring that it is managed and protected according to specific guidelines. Conservationists have implemented measures to prevent erosion and maintain the integrity of the trail, such as using sustainable materials for construction and implementing erosion control techniques.

The La Framboise Island Trail is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, some of which are considered rare or endangered. Conservation efforts have focused on preserving and restoring the natural habitat to support these species. This includes removing invasive plant species, planting native vegetation, and creating wildlife corridors to allow for the movement of animals.

Regular monitoring and research are conducted to assess the impact of human activity on the trail and its surrounding ecosystem. This information helps guide conservation efforts and ensure that the trail remains a sustainable and ecologically valuable resource for future generations. Overall, the conservation status of the La Framboise Island Trail reflects a commitment to preserving the natural environment and promoting responsible outdoor recreation.

Leave a Comment