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Shadehill Dam & Hugh Glass Monument

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

Located along Highway 73 in one of the most remote parts of northern South Dakota is the beautiful Shadehill Reservoir and Dam. Just south of the 'town' of Shadehill is a dirt road headed west. This road takes you back to the dam itself and follows along the reservoir to the site of one of the most extraordinary stories in Dakota history.

There are little to no signs helping you along the way, but you'll know you're headed the right direction if the dirt road heads south. Follow along the reservoir about 5 miles or so (it feels longer because you have to drive slowly) until you see a stone monument solemnly overlooking the water below. This marks the spot where Hugh Glass was famously mauled by a bear and left for dead by his comrades. He slowly and painfully recovered, only to catch up with them later on. Its a quiet tribute to a man's lonely suffering and agony, juxtaposed against a tranquil and beautiful setting.

Head back out on the dirt road and after a short distance is a pull-off for the rocky beach at Shadehill Dam. The reservoir (which is really more like a lake) was reasonably clean, and Maggie could hardly wait to get in after a long day in the car.

We all enjoyed walking along and exploring the craggy shoreline. It was quiet and beautiful, making for an ideal place to stop. The rocky beach made for plenty of places to sit, enjoy the scenery, and have a treat (or snack) break.

This place is private, interesting, and gorgeous. You can even see the actual dam from this spot along the lake. The dogs enjoyed exploring the beach and playing in the water. This is definitely worth a detour to the monument and a stop at the reservoir. If you have a chance to visit longer, the lake offers boating and fishing from its other recreation areas. All in all, a great location with a lot to offer.

This is certainly a beautiful place, but also quite eerie. Its oddly peaceful and so quiet that you can almost swear you heard the desperate screams of a man being mauled nearly to death, echoing through time and out across the water.

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