Rocky Mountain Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Spiderwort. Photo by Carol Erickson, U.S. Forest Service.
Daisy fleabane on the Fort Pierre National Grasslands. Photo by Kelly Fuoss, U.S. Forest Service.
Purple coneflower. Photo by Kelly Fuoss, U.S. Forest Service.
Fort Pierre National Grassland
Forest: Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands
District: Fort Pierre Ranger District
Description: The Fort Pierre National Grassland (FPNG) is a mixture of gently rolling hills and vast prairie flats located in the center of South Dakota, nestled between I-90 and the town of Fort Pierre. Its shrubby hillsides are home to whitetail and mule deer, while the hundreds of earthen dams provide lush habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and fish. Given the right amount of precipitation and sunlight, the spring and summer months of the central South Dakota prairie come alive with wildflowers of different shapes, colors, and sizes. As the spring progresses into summer, native grasses create just as stunning a display as the flowers.
Viewing Information: Stop at the District office located at 1020 North Deadwood Street in Fort Pierre to pick up your map and get directions and any special road information. One area usually profuse in its wildflowers is Forest Service Road 227. Along this route, purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) is evidentafter the first few miles. Other wildflowers can be seen here as well, such as western yarrow (Achillea millefolium), pricklypear (Opuntia spp.), spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.), daisy fleabane (Erigeron strigosus), and various goldenrods (Solidago spp.).
Safety First: Visitors are advised to be careful while driving down the two-track dirt roads of the FPNG when it is muddy. Our clayey soils make being stuck in the mud a snap. Visitors with low-clearance vehicles are reminded to watch for ruts in the roads. These kinds of vehicles are easy to get stuck or high-centered. When walking across the prairie landscape, visitors may come across snakes, so be mindful and keep a lookout for them.
Directions: FS 227 is located on the southwestern edge of the grassland. Turn west off of Hwy 83 onto FS 227 and drive 1.5 to 2 miles to the hilltops where wildflowers often start showing up, The entire road is roughly 6 miles long.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Fort Pierre National Grassland, Fort Pierre Ranger District (605) 224-5517.
Closest South Dakota Towns to the Grassland: Fort Pierre, Pierre, Murdo, Draper, Vivian, and Presho, South Dakota.
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