Contact Info
Missouri River Institute
The University of
South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Science Center
Vermillion, SD 57069

Financial support for website development provided by the
Living River Group
of the
Sierra Club




Site Description:

Spirit Mound was visited by Meriwether Lewis & William Clark on August 25th, 1804. The 130-foot high mound appears today just as it did at the time of Lewis & Clark's visit- as an unusual rise surrounded by a mostly flat landscape of prairie grass. The mound was formed by glaciers advancing from the north approximately 15,000 years ago. Journal entries and maps provide details of Lewis & Clark's trip to Spirit mound. Clark recorded in his journal that the group "Set out to visit this mountain of evel spirits." He also recorded that Indians had told the men that it was believed evil spirits or 'deavels' armed with sharp arrows inhabited the mound and would kill all persons who dared to approach the hill. Finally, Lewis and Clark reached the top of Spirit Mound where they "beheld a most beautiful landscape; numerous herds of buffalo were seen feeding in various direction; the Plain to the North N.W. and N.E. extends without interruption as far as can be seen."

Spirit Mound
Web Link