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Spanning the Missouri River from Nebraska and into the city of Yankton, South Dakota, the Meridian Bridge is one of the area's premier historic attractions. Installed in 1924, this vertical lift bridge was designed to accommodate both vehicle traffic across the river and shipping traffic along the river below. A new bridge was built just to the west, allowing the Meridian Bridge to be redeveloped into a facility for pedestrians and cyclists in 2011.
Now, off-road users can cross over the wide river on either of the bridge's two levels, following a path that runs for just over a half-mile one-way. The trail provides some wonderful views of the river landscape and the city of Yankton, and those with a taste for history will appreciate the up-close look at the historic bridge structure (listed on the National Register of Historic Places). On the northern end of the bridge, Yankton's Riverside Park offers a great place to relax and enjoy some outdoor recreation, with the Dakota Territorial Capitol Building providing another opportunity to explore the area's past. The park also hosts a multi-use trail along the north bank of the river, which connects in to the rest of the city's surprisingly excellent trail system.
Parking and restrooms are available in Riverside Park, located along Levee Street in Yankton. The entrance to the trail is located at the plaza at the corner of 2nd Street and Walnut Street, just north and west from the park.
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