Settled in southeastern South Dakota, Palisades State Park is a recreational destination that offers visitors a display of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and geological intrigue.

The picturesque park in Garretson spans 435 acres, and is renowned for its Sioux quartzite formations that rise to 50 feet.

“These formations are estimated to be over 1.2 billion years old,” said district park supervisor, Luke Dreckman. “Aside from its beauty, this area also holds a rich history.”

In the 1860s, pioneers settled in the land, built a large flour mill, and the town of Palisades was born.

“Palisades was a thriving town, but when railroad tracks were laid down and crossed paths with the townspeople, they uprooted and moved to what is now Garretson,” explained Dreckman.

“Recreational activities are available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.” -Luke Dreckman

The quartzite formations—coupled with the park’s history and wildlife—make Palisades State Park a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

“The park has a variety of activities to offer,” shared Dreckman.

Camping, hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking are popular activities, as well as bird watching, sand volleyball, fishing, and hunting.

“We offer equipment guests can check out during their visit, free of charge,” said Dreckman.

The large pink-hued rocks are the perfect playground for climbers, with cliffs and cracks creating various routes for any climbing level.

“We also offer a guide that provides training and equipment for those inexperienced climbers, too,” shared Dreckman.

The state park also offers scenic hiking trails that weave through the park and showcase glimpses of the cliffs and Split Rock Creek below them.

King and Queen Trail or Balancing Rock Trail is a must-do,” said Dreckman.

There are many breathtaking views to be found in this park, and hikers can reach the top of the cliffs to see all of them.

Over the years, camping has been on the rise for visitors catering to different interests with tent and cabin lodging.

In 2024, Palisades State Park recently underwent a large land expansion to accommodate more guests.

“The expansion has been amazing for the park, and allowed us to triple most of our amenities,” stated Dreckman.

The state park hosts 77 campsites and four cabins in King Campground and is surrounded by several acres of habitat and woody vegetation. Dreckman says the park now has a total of 111 sites and 10 cabins.

The cabin sites include three to four beds, tables, and benches completed with a picnic table, porch, and fire grate. Dreckman also notes the campsites are equipped with electrical hookups.


– Annie’s Coffeehouse
– Devil’s Gulch
– Downtown Style
– Salon & Boutique
– Garretson Gazette
– Humble Hill Winery
– Jesse James Country Store
– Palisades Art Gallery
– Split Creek Park
– The Gulch Bar & Grill
– The Treasure Chest

“The park offers a comfort station for our guests with showers and restrooms,” added Dreckman.

Each campsite is spaced out with an average of 70 feet in length, and will now offer wifi in King Campground.

“Camping at the Palisades is perfect for guests looking to get not too far out of the city, but just enough to see the stars and enjoy the peace and quiet,” shared Dreckman.

An important aspect of the campsites and cabins is that some are ADA-accessible.

The expansion also included a dump station, additional river access, extra fishing spots, picnic stations, and more trails to traverse.

It will also allow the park and its staff to expand their recreational opportunities by adding archery, a disc golf course, and kayak and canoe landing spots in the future.

With the expansion, Dreckman shares it will also benefit Garretson.

“This will allow us to team up with the city and use creative ways to get into town, so they can see the great things the community offers outside of the Palisades,” he shared.

The Palisades offers park programs throughout the summer, says Dreckman.

Check out other communities at Sioux Metro Growth Alliance’s website:

“These happen during the weekends and offer a fun activity to do with the family, all while learning something new,” he added.

Throughout July, events include Nature’s Fireworks, Monarchs and Pollinators, and Make Your Own Ice Cream.

With the endless amount of recreational activities to partake in at Palisades State Park, it’s simple to spend a summer day or weekend there.

For more information, visit SIOUXMETRO.COM and GFP.SD.GOV+
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