Postcards: A South Dakota Sampler

Posted by Larry Rohrer on

I have a bike rack for my recumbent, but a longer than normal bike perpendicular across the back of my smaller than normal car can catch some air and make for an unstable ride up Interstate 29. So, I’ve learned to break the bike down, remove the seat and lower the handlebars to fit it inside my Honda Insight. “Up” is also an appropriate description for my travel to Watertown. Our fifth largest city is situated near the top of the slow rise known as the Buffalo Ridge.

Watertown is a sampler of South Dakota:  In the middle of the prairie lakes region and head waters of the Sioux River; near to the dramatic overlooks like the Ridge near Summit and Garden City; a collection of parks, fields, playgrounds and a zoo; history of the Mellette House to the Art Center of Terry Redlin; and a vibrant growing economy.

Connecting many of these features, and the Uptown Watertown, are a series of on and off road bike paths. Jeremy Herrboldt, Senior Director of Recreation was my riding partner. Unlike the river loop in Sioux Falls and Missouri in Yankton, the bike paths of Watertown can get you from one side of town to the other, or help you get your miles and steps in for the day.

There are three main designated loops in the greater Watertown area: The RED loop from Bramble Park ZOO to the neighbors in the northeast and connecting to the grounds of the Redlin Art Center; the BLUE loops takes you out of town west to lake Kampeska, and around the airport back into Watertown; and the GOLD loops is thirteen miles on and off road around Kampeska.

There is a good quality surface, some hills, a behind the scenes point of view you only get from well-planned trails incorporated into city development, and wide open spaces that can give you a healthy head or tail wind. As a visitor, it is easy to spend several hours on the trails for miles of seat time from east to west. As a resident, if you’re not part of an organized group or team, Herrboldt and the Parks staff develop and host activities. 

Watertown is serious about their trail system and well attuned to emerging recreational trends suggested by city residents… more disc golf, a new skate and skateboard park, and the city has just approved further planning and development to improve the trail loop around Lake Kampeska.

Going Northeast?  Take your fishing gear, take your golf clubs, take the family to the zoo, admire the prairie scenes created from the brush of Terry Redlin, and take your bike to get from one place or the other or to simply enjoy the outdoors of great lakes country.

Complete Album of Photos on Flickr

2017 Biking Watertown

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