Missouri River Odyssey
Meandering toward Nebraska
From Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota, to Ponca State Park in Nebraska, paddlers canoe a section of the Missouri River that still feels wild. For 59 meandering miles, the stream flows free of dams and channels, broad and lazy.
At Ponca State Park, bluff-top Three State Overlook provides a view that includes parts of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska -- and the river as it looked to the explorers. Nearly 200 feet below, the river ambles in from the northwest shallow, milk-colored, sinuously irregular -- an unruly, half-mile-wide stream punctuated by broad sandbars and weathered snags.
Suddenly, it narrows by half, takes on the regular features of a canal, and the current accelerates. The overlook surveys one of the last untamed stretches of the Missouri.