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, paddle boards, a row boat, 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 Nature Trail encircling the banks of McDowell Dam.

Park Hours Year Round:

  • Sunrise to sunset

Equipment Rentals:

  • CLOSED for the season
  • Memorial Day weekend (May 22) to Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 7)
  • 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.