Welcome to Garretson, SD. You’ll find nature at its finest only 20 minutes northeast of Sioux Falls just north of I-90. Explore red quartzite pinnacles and chasms along Split Rock River in three Garretson parks. Back road scenery, geology, history of prairie pioneers and legendary bandits Jesse and Frank James are waiting for you to discover in Garretson.
The town of Garretson was named after A.S. Garretson of Sioux City, IA. He was instrumental in moving the little town of Palisades to the present site of Garretson because of the Sioux City and Northern Railroad. The move from the Palisades to the Garretson site took place in 1889, the same year that South Dakota became a state. The legacy of the James Boys dominates area folklore. Devil’s Gulch is a popular spot for those who are intrigued with the history of the site.
Recreation / Community Activities
Home of Jesse James Pontoon rides-Great Family Attraction! This 45-minute back-to-nature guided tour takes rides over calm waters past Majestic red Sioux quartzite cliffs to view wildlife, nature’s splendor and the cave where Jesse James hid. For reservations call 605-594-2225.
At Devil’s Gulch, stand on the footbridge spanning the chasm that Jesse James jumped over during a pursuit. Enjoy quartzite rock formations at Palisades State Park and Split Rock Park. You can camp, fish, hike and picnic at both facilities.
Garretson is a busy community that has many events throughout the year for families to enjoy. We are particularly well known for the way we celebrate the Christmas season. The first Saturday in December is the annual “Old Fashioned Christmas” in Garretson, which is our kickoff for the holiday season. Please check our community calendar for more information of this event and other family activities.
While you’re in Garretson, check out the variety of unique businesses. There are several restaurants and gift shops that you can visit. We invite you to browse and find out more about our community.