This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.

The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.

You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.

I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Klondike Dam Becomes the Klondike Rapids of the Big Sioux River

The Klondike Dam has now been fully transformed into the Klondike Rapids.  After kayaking on Lake Lakota yesterday morning, Dave Finck and I stopped by the Klondike Mill area to see the degree of change since our last visit earlier this spring.
There is nothing of the dam still visible at the site, and the water is flowing in great volume over the rapids formed by the rocks and the sculpting of the passage. 
People who love riding through turbulent water, laughing as they find their boat tossed about it the rapids, would probably like running the Klondike Rapids.  I sincerely doubt that I will ever attempt such a passage!
 There is now a rough portage on the South Dakota side of the Big Sioux that begins just above the rapids and passes about 300 yards up to the road and then down the trail to a put-in downstream from the bridge. 
Such a portage reminds me of traveling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota.  It would be a long carry for a kayaker traveling solo, but not too tough if there are two people available. 
As I looked at the stream moving through the rapids, it seemed easier to consider “lining” a boat downstream from the Iowa side. 

At any rate, the old Klondike Dam has now become the Klondike Rapids.

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