The Missouri River nearly cuts South Dakota into two perfect halves often known as East River and West River. That waterway is also the dividing line for many things in our state.

With the exception of eight months in Denver, I have lived in South Dakota for my entire life. Five of those years were spent in Spearfish and Rapid City so I have a fairly good grasp of the main differences between the two halves of the state.

Get our free mobile app

East River VS. West River South Dakota Roads

East River has roads everywhere neatly arranged in one-mile squares

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

Not counting the cities, there are a total of 10 roads in all of West River.

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

East River VS. West River South Dakota Snakes

East River there are garter snakes and they are harmless.

Barney Oldfield/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Barney Oldfield/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
loading...

West River has Prairie Rattlesnakes that can kill you.

Clipart
Clipart
loading...

East River VS. West River South Dakota Tourism

West River has the Badlands and the Black Hills.

Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
loading...

East River has some neat stuff to see, but its biggest contribution to state tourism is the roads that lead to the Badlands and the Black Hills.

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

East River VS. West River South Dakota Hills

Some areas of East River are so flat that a little mound ten feet high is considered a hill.

South of Aberdeen (Google Maps)
South of Aberdeen (Google Maps)
loading...

The "Wasta Hill" as my friends and family have called it starts at the Wasta Exit on westbound I-90 and features a scenic continuous climb of 600 feet over the course of about four miles. It killed my first car in college and many others over the years.

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

East River VS. West River South Dakota Winter

The western half of West River enjoys the "Banana Belt" winter. Massive snowstorms, even as late as June do occur, but there are always periods of spring or fall-like warmth.

Andy Erickson
Small amount of snow remaining in November 2016 - Andy Erickson
loading...

Once the first deep freeze hits East River everything freezes solid for at least three months.

JD Collins via Sprint Sioux Falls
JD Collins via Sprint Sioux Falls
loading...

East River VS. West River South Dakota Agriculture

West River ranchers ranch on ranches.

John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images
loading...

East River farmers farm on farms.

Clipart
Clipart
loading...

TRENDING FROM RESULTS-TOWNSQUARE SIOUX FALLS:

From Frybread to Pheasants - Here are South Dakota's Official State Things

Every state in our nation has chosen things that represent the state in one way or another to be official state things. Like a flower, or animal. South Dakota is no different.

The Mount Rushmore has a state flower. But did you know we also have a state tree and a state fish? Yes, we even have a state code.

Here is what we have so far in Wyoming. Thanks to the South Dakota Secretary of State's Office for the info:

Sioux Falls Murals