Home
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Prevent invasive species Water Safety Reserve a campsite at USACE campgrounds at Recreation.gov Purchase Navigation and Boating Maps from the Jefferson National Parks Association
The Oahe Dam has a Visitor Center loacted on the eastern crest of thd dam. The visitor center provides an excellent view of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. The center provides information about the history, exploration, early navigation, settlement and natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. Programs highlight construction of the dam, the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the fish of South Dakota.
Oahe Dam
The Oahe Dam has a Visitor Center loacted on the eastern crest of thd dam. The visitor center provides an excellent view of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. The center provides information about the history, exploration, early navigation, settlement and natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. Programs highlight construction of the dam, the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the fish of South Dakota.
Located near Pierre, South Dakota, the surge tanks at Oahe Dam are each 70 feet in diameter. There are two tanks per penstock. The surge tanks help regulate water flow to the power house turbines.
Oahe Dam Surge Tanks
Located near Pierre, South Dakota, the surge tanks at Oahe Dam are each 70 feet in diameter. There are two tanks per penstock. The surge tanks help regulate water flow to the power house turbines.
Oahe Dam is located near Pierre, S.D. at River Mile 1,072.3. The first of the power house’s seven 89,500-kilovolt generators was put into operation in March 1962.  On August 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy came to the dam and officially dedicated the two generators.  The final generator went into operation in June 1963, completing the $340-million Oahe project.  By 1966, Oahe Dam was generating over 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
Oahe Dam
Oahe Dam is located near Pierre, S.D. at River Mile 1,072.3. The first of the power house’s seven 89,500-kilovolt generators was put into operation in March 1962. On August 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy came to the dam and officially dedicated the two generators. The final generator went into operation in June 1963, completing the $340-million Oahe project. By 1966, Oahe Dam was generating over 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

Location: Near Pierre, S.D., River Mile 1,072.3

Lake Oahe is surrounded by mixed grass prairie with trees growing down to the shore in occasional steep draws.

Oahe Dam takes its name from the Oahe Mission established among the Lakota Sioux people in 1874, about eight miles upstream from the present site of the dam. The word "Oahe," roughly translated, means "a foundation" or "a place to stand on."

Collapse All Expand All

The Lakota Sioux were not the first people in the area now called "the land of the Sioux." The Lakotas displaced people of the Arikara tribe, whose earth lodge villages lined the bluffs along the Missouri River in the 18th century. Traces of the fortresses that guarded their villages still remain.

Present day residents include the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, which occupy a majority of land on the west side of Lake Oahe.

Significant historical sites surround Lake Oahe, including the Fort Manuel Trading Post where Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who served as a guide for Lewis and Clark, is said to be buried.

The grave site of the Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull is also nearby, as is the old military post of Fort Sully.

People travel from all over to participate in recreational activities on the 461,000 acres of land and water that comprise the project.

Guests are encouraged to have fun and are reminded that care should be taken to preserve the lands and waters for future visitors. There are 51 recreation areas around the reservoir including highly developed campgrounds and day use areas, moderately developed areas and primitive areas. Recreation opportunities at the lake include camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, water skiing, swimming, bird-watching, hiking, biking, and photography.

The story of Oahe focuses on people - from the early Native American tribes, to the fur traders and pioneers, to those who manage, operate and use the facility today. All play an important role in shaping and developing this region.

Lake Oahe's 2,250 mile shoreline offers a myriad of opportunities to outdoor recreationists. Swimmers, sightseers, campers and picnickers alike have their choice of outdoor activities. More than 1.5 million visitors enjoy Lake Oahe's recreation facilities each year.

Campers may choose between fully developed campsites with electrical hookups, trailer dump stations and comfort stations and more primitive sites with little or no amenitites. The day-use areas have picnic shelters, tables, grills, drinking water, comfort stations and playground equipment.

Anglers come to Lake Oahe for the great variety of sport fish, especially walleye and Chinook salmon. Other fish species include channel catfish, northern pike, whitebass, small mouth bass, sauger, trout, perch, blue gill and crappie. Concrete boat launching ramps are available at many locations on the lake.

Many of the public lands around the lakes and rivers, except for developed recreation areas, are open to hunting and offer a great place for sportsmen to hunt pheasants, grouse, partridge, turkey, waterfowl and deer. Wildlife management areas around lake and other areas may allow trapping/snaring please refer to the regulations that are established and enforced by the State of North Dakota.  The Corps of Engineers has certain project restrictions for areas it directly operates (buildings, recreation, and day use areas) for hunting, trapping, and snaring.

Highways 1804 and 1806 pass by most of Oahe’s recreation areas from Bismarck, N.D. and Pierre, S.D.

The Oahe Visitor Center is situated on the eastern crest of Oahe Dam. The visitor center provides an excellent view of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.

The center provides information about the history, exploration, early navigation, settlement and natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. Programs highlight construction of the dam, the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the fish of South Dakota.

Visitor Center Hours: The Visitor Center is staffed weekdays year-round by South Dakota Missouri River Tourism. 

Memorial Day  to Labor Day: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, including holidays.

Off-season Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed holidays and weekends)

Memorial Day to Labor Day: 10 a.m., 1 & 4 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

Due to increased security, powerhouse tours begin at the Oahe Visitor Center. Visitors should arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour and visitors over 18 years old must show a government issued photo ID. Tours last up to one hour.

Off-season or for groups of 10 or more: Call (605) 224-5862. Tours are by special appointment only

Oahe News Releases


1 2 3 4 5 6

Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment for land use reclassification at the Oahe Project available for public review

A draft environmental assessment to evaluate the impacts of reclassifying the land use of approximately 125 acres at the Oahe Project in South Dakota is currently available for public review. Management Unit 60, also known as Sibley Nature Park, would be reclassified from Environmentally Sensitive to Multiple Resource Management – Low Density Recreation. If determined that there are no significant impacts, this change would be documented in the Oahe Dam/Lake Oahe Master Plan. Comments must be postmarked or received no later than August 23, 2017. [Read More]
Published: Jul-25-17

Several changes are coming to campsites operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

BISMARCK, ND – Several changes are coming to campsites operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Changes include how visitors will reserve and pay for campsites. “To keep up with available technology and to follow the lead of other USACE and State Campgrounds in the region, Hazelton and Beaver Creek Campgrounds are going to be 100% reservable with a 120 day booking window. This change in the collection process, will result in an easier process for visitors and staff.” [Read More]
Published: Apr-06-17

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grants Special Use Permit to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a Special Use Permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to use Federal lands managed by the Corps near Lake Oahe. Omaha District Commander, Col. John W. Henderson, informed Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, that the Tribe’s Spiritual gathering, located south of the Cannonball River, has been granted a Special Use Permit, which allows the Tribe to gather to engage in a lawful free speech demonstration on Federal lands designated in the permit. [Read More]
Published: Sep-16-16

Changes coming to overnight camping at Lake Oahe

Changes were made to the campsite reservation and fee collection to provide an easier process for visitors and staff. Of the 30 campsites at the Hazelton Recreation Area Campground, 26 are now reservable online. The recreation season will run from May 1 to September 30. [Read More]
Published: Mar-15-16

Lake Oahe's Halzelton Recreation area added to Recreation.gov

Hazelton Recreation Area located south of Bismarck, North Dakota, on Lake Oahe has been added to the National Recreation Reservation Service website for advanced reservations. Reservations can be made at recreation.gov or their Toll-Free number 1-877-444-6777 up to 6 months in advance to as little as 2 days in advance through September 5. For the Hazleton Recreation area, the first date campsites are available for reservations is May 26, 2016. Walk-up, first come, first camp reservations are available May 1-May 25 and September 6-September 30. [Read More]
Published: Dec-17-15
1 2 3 4 5 6