McDowell Dam Recreation Area

1951 93rd St. NE. • 223-7016

McDowell Dam Recreation Area is a 271-acre park located five miles east of Bismarck on Old Highway 10 and one mile north. The park is owned by the Burleigh County Water Resource District and managed by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District. Available activities include swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boating. There is a public beach, picnic shelters (can be reserved for special occasions), horseshoe pits, a small concessions area, a playground and modern restrooms. There is a paved trail on the grounds and wooded area for nature walks or runs. There is also a nature trail encircling the banks of McDowell Dam.

Park Hours Year-Round

  • Sunrise to sunset

Equipment Rentals

  • Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Weekend
  • Monday-Friday: 1pm–9pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 11am–9pm
  • Paddleboats, Paddle Boards, Canoe, Kayaks (single and tandem):
    $6/half hour; $10/hour; $14/hour and half
  • *If wind or other weather conditions present a safety hazard to watercrafts, no rentals will occur.

Shelter Reservations

Boat Motor Restrictions: Electric motors only: (Note: Boats may be propelled manually or with an electric motor. No combustion motor may be operated on McDowell Dam.) 

Bait: Live baitfish may not be used or possessed.

Fishing: Open to open-water fishing following North Dakota Game and Fish Department regulations. Open to “catch and release” angling only while ice fishing.