Gavins Point Dam – Yankton, South Dakota

Gavins Point Dam.jpgJust outside of Yankton, South Dakota the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River was completed in 1957 as part of the Pick-Sloan Plan. The dam and power plant are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tour the power plant and learn how it operates.

Gavins Point Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, commonly called the Pick-Sloan Plan. Under this plan, Gavins Point was designed primarily to provide a steady outflow of water to assist navigation on the lower Missouri River. In addition to navigation, the project provides flood control, generation of hydroelectric power, irrigation, improved water supply, fish and wildlife management, and recreation.

Location: 4 miles west of Yankton, SD on Highway 52, south across the dam or 13 miles north of Crofton, NE on Highway 121

Business Office Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Powerplant Tours: Tours are given Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays. Special tours can be scheduled by calling 402-667-2546 weekdays between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

Telephone: (402) 667-7873


  1. Rick Horton says:

    Just passing through checking history from the past to present it very interesting to me. Laura Ingall Wilder is a smart person of her day and I would love to visit South Dakota one of these days.

  2. i want to ask a question. When was the Gavin’s Point Dam finished.

  3. It was built between 1952 and 1957.

  4. what secret was there about this dam when it was being built?

  5. Scott Werner says:

    Gavin’s Point Dam is my favorite dam for many reasons. 1. It is a nice, neat, little, cute dam. 2. It is the most important dam on the missouri river. 3. It is the closest dam from where I live. 4 Its in a great location to get to from where I live and close to campsites. Just a great vacation spot. Fort Randall is next, but pretty far from where I live. Even though being the smallest dam and living an hour and a half away from it, I still feel like a tourist/vacationer whenever I visit it. My favorite part of the dam is the powerplant. Only housing 3 generators, they all play a vital roll everyday. They are my favorite generators for a hydroelectric plant. They are my favorite brand. General Electric. I was just to gavins point dam July 25th when they just had 5 spillway gates open. Now they have at least 12 open. I thought just 5 were putting out a lot of water. 12 gates is putting out more. I really appreciate gavins point for what it does. Every time I visit it, I have a new appreciation for it. Being the smallest dam & powerplant it still is very exciting to visit it. It may look small on the inside but the outside by the powerplant is still very impressive. I really enjoy visiting it. The dam may be old but he is still a very good dam and in very good shape.

  6. Scott Werner says:

    I just visited Gavin’s Point Dam again on August 29, 2010. It has all 14 spillway gates open, not very far but far enough to be letting out so much water. They can’t open them any more because it would be too much water releae and water pressure below the dam. The way the gates are now is just the right opening for just the right amount of water. So there isn’t too much water at once. I climbed to the top of the dam from below him in the parking lot, and I could see the other side of the dam. Very amazing view. I saw how high the water was next to the gates. I was pretty high up there, but just high enough. I was really high up. Like I said, I climbed up on the side of the dam as high as I could go. Very high up, maybe a 1/4 mile high. Whatever it was, it was really high. I stayed there at the dam an hour then ate supper for 1 1/2 hour. Then went back to the dam for another 2 hours and couldn’t believe how it looks in real life. more later.

  7. Pat Stoural, Jensen Const. Co. says:

    I need to find the dates in 2010 that the dam was releasing 34,000 to 55,000 of water. Can you provide me with that?