McDowell Dam Recreation Area

1951 93rd Street Northeast • 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. A public beach provides great access to the water, and you can fish off a dock. These items are available for rent: paddle boats, paddleboards, a rowboat, canoes, kayaks, and a tandem kayak.  Picnic shelters are available (and can be reserved for special occasions), as well as horseshoe pits, a small concessions area,  a playground, and modern restrooms. There is a paved recreational trail on the grounds and a wooded area for nature walks or runs. There is also a 2.45 mile Nature Trail encircling the banks of McDowell Dam.

Park Hours Year-Round:

  • Sunrise to sunset

Equipment Rentals:

  • Memorial Day weekend (May 28) to Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 6)
  • Monday-Friday: 1pm – 9pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 11am – 9pm
  • Paddleboat, Paddle Boards, Canoe, Kayak (single and tandem):
    $5/half hour; $8/hour; $12/hour and half
  • *If wind or other weather conditions present a safety hazard to watercrafts, no rentals will occur.

Shelter Reservations:

  • Call 222-6455
  • Full day: $45
  • Half-day: $30 (sunrise – 3pm OR 4pm – sunset)

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 all open-water fishing for trout, bluegill, and largemouth bass. Closed to all ice fishing.