State Parks

Photo © SD Tourism

Lake Thompson Recreation Area

/userdocs/Lake Thompson Recreation Area

Originally called Dry Woods Lake by American Indians, the lake was renamed for Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior under President James Buchanan. In the 1930s, the lake was completely dry and used for pasture. In the 1980s, the area was a 9,000-acre marsh. Heavy rains and snowmelt in the mid-80s filled the lake to over 20 feet deep. The lake is so distinct it was designated as a National Natural Landmark.

Laura Ingalls Wilder called the area around DeSmet her home. Lake Thompson itself is also mentioned as one of the Twin Lakes in her books, including By the Shores of Silver Lake and The Long Winter.

Read More About This Park

Activities

  • Basketball
  • Basketball Checkout
  • Biking (on park roads)
  • Biking (on trails)
  • Birdwatching
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseshoe Checkout
  • Horseshoes
  • Kayaking
  • Lawn Game Checkout
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball
  • Volleyball Checkout
  • Walking (on park roads)
Show More

Fees

  • Daily: $8 per vehicle
  • Annual: $36 first vehicle | $18 second vehicle (with coupon) | $80 transferable license

    Purchase Online

  • Campsites - electrical: $26 per night
  • Campsites - non-electrical: $15 per night
  • Camping Cabins: $55 per night
  • Group Lodge: $280 per night
Show More

Park Specs

Open: Year-round. Between Oct. 1 and April 30, showers, flush toilets and other water systems may be closed. Please contact the park directly for current status. Vault toilets usually remain open.

Park Size: 103 campsites, 5 camping cabins, and group lodge

Directions: 6 miles southwest of Lake Preston off US Hwy 14

Nearest Town: Lake Preston

Show More

Make Reservations

Make reservation online or call 1.800.710.2267.

Contact Info

Lake Thompson Recreation Area
21176 Flood Club Road
Lake Preston, SD 57249
605.847.4893
Email: LakeThompson@state.sd.us
Show More

Amenities

  • ADA/Accessible Features
  • Basketball Hoop(s)
  • Biking Trail(s)
  • Boat Ramp(s)
  • Campground(s)
  • Camping Cabin(s)
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Electrical Campsite(s)
  • Fish Cleaning Station(s)
  • Flush Toilets
  • Hiking Trail(s)
  • Modern Lodging
  • Playground(s)
  • Self-serve Entrance Kiosk(s)
  • Shore Fishing Access
  • Showers
  • Swim Beach(es)
  • Tent-only Campsite(s)
  • TRACK Trail(s)
  • Vault Toilets (open year-round)
Show More

Park Rating


Modern Lodging

The group lodge at Lake Thompson offers increased comforts in an outdoor setting any time of the year.
Show More

ADA / Accessible

  • Camping Cabin(s)
  • Campsite(s)
  • Flush Toilets
  • Group Lodge
  • Showers
Show More

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 44.32347
Longitude: -97.43463
Show More

Additional Info

Show More