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Sunset over the boat launch at Lake Herman State Park

Sunset over the boat launch at Lake Herman State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page.

Scenic Lake Herman State Park lies along Lake Herman, nestled within a peninsula of oak woodlands and prairie grasses minutes from Madison and 50 miles north of Sioux Falls.

This beautiful area has attracted humans for hundreds of years, beginning with local natives and eventually early homesteaders. Today visitors to this South Dakota state park enjoy spending quality time here with their friends and families. Lake Herman not only offers water activities but also opportunities for camping, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and picnicking.


In addition to swimming and boating, Lake Herman State Park also features a 9-hole Disc Golf course, hiking trails, scenic picnic areas, playgrounds, a campground, and winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

To make your stay even more comfortable, the Visitor Center offers a variety of rentals and items that you may check out including golf discs, horseshoes, lawn games, and snowshoes.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Lake Herman State Park:

Boating at Lake Herman State Park

Kayak, canoe, paddle board, sail, water ski, jet ski, and more out on picturesque lake Herman during your visit to this serene park. A boat ramp with access to the 1,350 acre lake is conveniently located in the day use area.

Kayak, canoe, and paddle boards may be rented inside the park and life jackets are also available. Boating of any kind is not permitted on Herman Pond.

Swimming at Lake Herman State Park

Summer guests will be pleased to discover that Lake Herman State Park has a designated beach and swimming area for guests.

Hiking at Lake Herman State Park

Lake Herman State Park features trails that extend through the oak woodlands, mixed grass prairies, and along Lake Herman. Interpretive signs, historic sites, and opportunities to view wildlife lie along these picturesque trails.

Here are a couple of the trails at Lake Herman State Park:

  • Luce Adventure Trail – Easy 1.25 mile grassy trail that leads to the historic Luce cabin that was built in 1871. This trail also features interpretive signs about these early homesteaders.
  • Pioneer Nature Trail – This easy 0.4 mile trail winds through the tall grass prairie and out to the trailhead gazebo.

Fishing at Lake Herman State Park

Pack your angling gear, pick up a South Dakota fishing license, and treat yourself to a peaceful morning lake fishing or pond fishing during your visit to Lake Herman State Park. Once here you can decide: fish from your boat or along the shore of the 1,350-acre lake or from the fishing pier on Herman Pond.

The lake boasts catches of yellow perch, channel catfish, bluegill, white crappie, yellow bullhead, bass, northern pike and walleye. And the pond is stocked with small and largemouth bass. Don’t worry if you forget your fishing pole, you can check one out inside the park.

Birding at Lake Herman State Park

Lake Herman State Park, surrounded by water, oak woodlands, and mixed grass prairies, attracts a variety of birds, both native and migratory. Herman Pond offers a natural habitat for many ducks and geese traveling south for the winter.

A quiet walk through the park with a set of binoculars will reward you with a variety of sightings. Some birds you may see here include Green Herons, American White Pelicans, Snowy Egrets, Black Terns, Canada Geese, Bald Eagles, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Wood Thrushes, American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Flickers, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Northern Cardinals.

Nature and Wildlife at Lake Herman State Park

Lake Herman State Park’s location, on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Herman, makes it an ideal place to view many species of wildlife. Some that you may observe here are deer, birds, snakes, lizards, turtles, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, prairie dogs, opossum, and coyotes.

This peaceful area has been attracting a diverse variety of wildlife, including humans, for hundreds of years. It was a popular stopover for many Native Indians passing through the area before it was settled by homesteaders.


Well behaved pets are allowed at Lake Herman State Park. Pets should always be supervised and cleaned up after, and leashed when in public areas. Pets are not permitted in the swimming area or inside park buildings.


Lake Herman State Park features 72 campsites and 4 camping cabins nestled within the oak trees close to Lake Herman.

These campsites are a mix of electric and non-electric. Each of the rustic camping cabins accommodate up to 4 people and have one large room with bunk beds, electricity, heat, air conditioning, and an outside porch area.

Campsites and cabins have a picnic table and fire ring and are conveniently located near flush toilets, showers, and drinking water. The park’s water is often turned off between Oct 1 and April 30, but vault toilets are still accessible during that time.

Park Location

Lake Herman State Park
23409 State Park Dr
Madison, SD 57042
Phone: 605.256.5003

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lake Herman State Park: