Bad River (South Dakota)

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Course and watershed of the Bad River

The Bad River (Dakota: wakpá-šiča;[1] "lake-bad") is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 161 miles (259 km) long,[2] in central South Dakota in the United States. The river is formed at Philip, South Dakota, by the confluence of its North and South forks. The North Fork Bad River rises in eastern Pennington County and flows 51 miles (82 km)[2] east-southeast to Philip, while the South Fork Bad River rises at the confluence of Whitewater Creek and Big Buffalo Creek in Jackson County, within the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, and flows 36 miles (58 km) northeast to Philip.[2] The main stem of the Bad River flows east-northeast from Philip, passing Midland and Capa. It joins the Missouri at Fort Pierre. The Bad drainage basin is about 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) and is located south of the Cheyenne River in the Pierre Hills and Southern Plateaus.[3]

The river basin is noted for deposits of manganese and fuller's earth. At the river mouth near Fort Pierre, the Bad River flood stage contains large quantities of silt. The Bad carries hard water of generally poor quality.[3]

The name recalls an incident when a flash flood on the Bad River inundated an Indian village, causing a large loss of life.[4] The Bad River is also historically known as the Teton River.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 58.
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed March 30, 2011
  3. ^ a b c Hogan, Edward Patrick; Fouberg, Erin Hogan (2001). The Geography of South Dakota (Third ed.). Sioux Falls, SD: The Center for Western Studies – Augustana College. ISBN 0-931170-79-6.
  4. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1940). South Dakota place-names, v.3. University of South Dakota. p. 4.

Coordinates: 44°21′16″N 100°22′04″W / 44.35440°N 100.36790°W / 44.35440; -100.36790