Return to the Little Missouri Recreation Area

The rugged badlands meet the blue waters of Lake Sakakawea at Little Missouri Bay.

Four years ago.
When water fills the lake, the Little Missouri Recreation Area is a great spot to access the water.

When we last saw the Little Missouri Recreation Area, it was a promising grassy area with boat trailers backed up, waiting to reconnect with their fishing boats. That story is here.


Since then, it’s apparent; Dunn County spent a fair amount of energy to polish its young Little Missouri Recreation Area, and it’s ready for quiet camping. It just needs the lake to come back to normal levels. The Dunn County Website details the specifics of the recreation area. Click here.


We came at the region after passing through Dunn Center, and then heading about 15 miles northeast on a blacktop road. It’s apparent this is the heart of oil country with many oil pumps and in the distance we spotted one oil drill. Mostly we drove through farm fields in varying stages of spring condition.

The last descent into the Missouri River Valley drops down into the Lake Sakakawea Badlands and opens up into a very green, neat, clean campground.


Mud Flats Where There Used to be a Boat Ramp

mud flats at Little Missouri Recreation Area

Acres of mud greets anyone who thought they could access the lake from the upper reaches of Lake Sakakawea

We parked and walked out on the high water boat ramp that was popular the last time we were here. Now, there’s no water and the areas is a mud flat.  That leaves miles of shoreline to hike.





It was a cool day so we weren’t too concerned about crossing paths with a rattlesnake,  though several signs in the park warned visitors to watch out.

 Big  horn sheep, deer, song birds and turkeys are also some of the wildlife visible here.

We climbed up a hill to the south of the campground to improve our view of the barren wet area. Leaves are just beginning to bud out, but we found a couple places where the breaks in the trees let us see more of the valley.


That’s how, across the valley, we saw the Little Missouri River.  This is the end.  It starts its flow from Devils Tower, Wyoming, through the Badlands to this point on what would be the Missouri River.


Before the Army Corps of Engineers flooded the valley, the little river flowed through forested areas good for hunting and some farming. 


Now, it’s mostly a mud flat except when the Lake is at normal height.  Northwest of our perch on the hillside above the Little Missouri Recreation Area, we guesstimated where the Little Missouri State Park sits above the mud flat.


Abundance of Quiet RV Camping

Developers have done an impressive job of creating campsites with fire pits, picnic tables, electricity and water.


While we there, on a cool, windy Friday afternoon, a maintenance man was tidying up the mowing.mowing grass at Little Missouri Recreation Area


The camp sites appeared level, well graveled and with a little creative spacing, some privacy could be afforded.


However, it appears to us that RVers do not place privacy as a high priority.  set up rv at Little Missouri Recreation Area


We didn’t find any tent-only areas.  It’s an RV and fishing campground.

You can book a spot by clicking here.


When we left a couple families were moving in for the weekend.  As we understand it, when the lake is full and people congregate here for fishing, food trucks can also visit the Little Missouri Recreation Area.

Maybe next year. It depends on how much snow falls in the Rockies and flows down river.


Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to keep up with news from the area. 

And when you’re ready to visit, this exhaustive calendar will give you ideas of events for your visit

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