State Parks

Photo © SD Tourism

George S. Mickelson Trail

Trail Safety

All wildlife can be dangerous. Stay on the trail for better safety.


The prairie rattlesnake is found on the southern end of the trail, but is rarely found above 5,000 feet elevation. They can be found in a variety of habitats including rocky areas, grassland, and stream banks.

Mountain Lions

Be alert for wildlife at all times. If you encounter a lion up close, DO NOT RUN, maintain eye contact with the lion, talk and yell at it, gather children close to you, make yourself appear as large as possible, and become aggressive by throwing objects or waving sticks.


As you travel the trail, you may see cattle nearby. Their grazing helps maintain meadows that are needed for wild animal habitat. If you come to an area where cattle are on the trail, DO NOT spook them, speak in a calm voice and slowly work your way around them.

Poison Ivy

Identified by its three pointed leaves that are typically shiny, in the spring and summer the leaves are green, changing to yellow and red in the fall. The oil on the plant can cause a severe rash when it comes in contact with human skin.

Horses and Pets

If you are traveling from a state other than South Dakota and intend to bring horses to ride on the trail or a pet to accompany you on the trail, please check with the South Dakota Animal Industry Board for important requirements, at or call 605-773-3321

Foreign Travelers

If you are traveling to South Dakota from a country where Foot and Mouth Disease of livestock or other foreign animal disases are known to exist, you must avoid contact with livestock, wildlife, and the areas they inhabit for a minimum of five days after arrival.


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