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Oyate Trail (Highways 50/18)

Because of the significance of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota Sioux along this route, the name of OYATE (oh-YAH-tay), meaning people or nation, was chosen.

Itinerary MapDay One

The itinerary begins in Vermillion where Highway 50 intersects Interstate 29, Vermillion is home to the world-class National Music Museum, where more than 13,500 rare and antique instruments are showcased on the campus of the University of South Dakota. Just west of Vermillion is the Missouri River town of Yankton, the first capital of Dakota Territory. Yankton is home to the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, one of the state’s best resources for water sports and camping. Farther west is the tiny town of Tabor, the site of the annual Czech Days each June. Continuing along Highways 50 and 18 are the Fort Randall Dam and the Fort Randall Casino on the Yankton Sioux Tribe Reservation. Continue on Highway 18 to Winner. Overnight in Winner.

Day Two

Make a stop in Mission, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, to visit the Sinte Gleska University. Travel south to Saint Francis to experience the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, which has a nice display of Native American art. Farther west is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the largest of South Dakota’s nine reservations. Both the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations hold several powwows and fairs throughout the summer. Probably the best known site on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is the Wounded Knee Memorial north of Highway 18. Just west of Pine Ridge is the Red Cloud Indian School and Heritage Center, where a summer art show showcases Native American fine art from around the country. Overnight at Prairie Wind Casino or in Hot Springs.

Day Three

Hot Springs attractions include The Mammoth Site, where excavation continues on the largest collection of mammoth fossils in the Western Hemisphere. Also in Hot Springs you will find a large natural, warm-water swimming pool; a wild horse sanctuary and Wind Cave National Park, the fifth-longest cave system in the world, located north of Hot Springs on Highway 87.