Good Earth State Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Just on the edge of South Dakota’s biggest city is a special historic and cultural site. The area, which is now referred to as Blood Run, has been changing for thousands of years.

It was home to a community of about 6,000 indigenous people from approximately 1500 to 1700. These people were a part of the Ioway, Otoe, Ponca and Omaha tribes. Their villages stretched over four miles along the Big Sioux River, on what today is Iowa and South Dakota. The site saw American settlers arrive in the 1800s; archeologists began studying the region in the early 1900s.

Now, a portion of the Blood Run site has been preserved as a South Dakota state park. The Good Earth State Park at Blood Run was designated in 2013.

Exploring the Past

Last spring, the park opened a brand-new visitor center to help tell the story of the people who live here so long ago. The state-of-the-art, 11,000-square-foot visitor center is home history timelines, hands-on exhibits, 3D models of dogs and travois (a drag sled pulled by canines), and even an 11-foot lodge that visitors can enter and experience. Beautiful hand painted murals line the walls with vibrant colors of the South Dakota landscape and the daily life scenes of the Native Americans who once lived here. An Emmy-nominated film tells the story of the site, bringing the area to life.

Outside, the park features over six miles of trail through prairie, woodland and river bottom. Several picnic shelters and viewing decks allow you to take in the breathtaking scenery. The park is popular for hiking, running, wildlife and bird watching, and dog walking.

Good Earth is an oasis of nature, packed with opportunities for learning, recreation and relaxation. It is definitely worth a visit. For more information, visit

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