Spirit Mound Summit Trail

photo: View of the prairie from Spirit Mound Summit Trail, north of the town of Vermillion, South Dakota; photo by Fiana Shapiro Type: Other Length: 0.75 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Bicycling (on pavement), Bicycling (off pavement), Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running, Roller/Inline Skating, Snow - Cross-country Skiing
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

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Location: Spirit Mound Historic Prairie
States: South Dakota
Counties: Clay
Latitude: 42.8675   Longitude: -96.95598

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Spirit Mound, or Paha Wakan, was known by many tribes before Lewis and Clark expedition came to the area. These tribes told Lewis and Clark that the mound was occupied by little people who shot any human who came near. On August 15, 1804, Lewis and Clark took eleven men and their dog to explore the mound. While they didn't find any "little people", Clark reported that they did see a "most beautiful landscape; numerous herds of buffalo were seen feeding in various directions." Historians recognize the mound as one of few remaining sites where we know with certainty that Lewis and Clark actually stood.

Additional Details

Width: 60 inches.
Primary Surface: Bituminous treatment
Secondary Surface: Bituminous Treatment

Average Grade: 3%
Elevation Low Point: 1,176
Elevation High Point: 1,246
Year Designated: 2004

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Mark Steck
SD Department of Game, Fish and Parks
28771 482nd Ave.
Canton , SD 57013
(605) 987-2263



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