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Jammer 01-21-2013 09:28 AM

Black Hills/Badlands trip advice
We're planning a family trip to this area in June. I would welcome any advice, especially firsthand, on campgrounds as we will probably have to reserve space for most of a week well in advance.

Advice on the area in general also welcome but we can adjust our sightseeing plans once we get there so that part isn't as critical.

Lily&Me 01-21-2013 09:34 AM

Funny, we will be in Colorado and then the Black Hills in June/July. :)

We have not been out there in a number of years, long enough ago that the Interstate has not spent any significant amount of time in those areas. :huh:

This campground was beautiful, terraced and set above the town of Deadwood.

Whistler Gulch Campground
Whistler Gulch Campground & RV Park - Deadwood, South Dakota
235 Cliff Street, Deadwood
(605) 578-2092


RangerJay 01-21-2013 09:49 AM

The Black Hills is a pretty neat place to spend time in - lots to see and lots to do. Just about our favourite park anywhere is Custer State Park ( SD GFP | State Parks | Directory | Custer State Park ) - it is a terrific place to use as a base camp to explore the park and much of the area around it. The campgrounds tend to have smallish type campsites - and for that reason we usually use Game Lodge Campground - but each has its own attractions so look at them all.

If we are on the other side of the Hills (i.e. Deadwood) we have usually stayed at the KOA - not for any particular reason other than habit - it is only a short driving distance from town but there is a free shuttle that runs back and forth.

Enjoy your trip.


mojo 01-21-2013 10:30 AM

Ditto on Custer SP and Whistlers Gulch. Also a nice state park near Rapid City, Sheridan Lake SP that is nice. There is also a nice KOA in White River on the east side of the Badlands that has plenty of shade which the Badlands NP does not. It is also close to the Minute Man missile site. You may want to include Devils Tower and the Custer Battlefield on your trip, the 7th Cavalry CG is a good spot to stay for touring the battlefield.

CanoeStream 01-21-2013 10:46 AM

1 Attachment(s)
The Custer State Park Sylvan Lake campground is smaller and in a pretty setting. No hookups; tote your water 75 yards at most from near the shower building. Sylvan Lake Lodge offers relief for the younger set or cooking one night. You only can pull a trailer approaching up 89 from Custer; the rock tunnels east and west of Sylvan Lake will accommodate your Cayo and that's about it (and you might be a bit nervous at that). We used the park campground dump station at Game Lodge campground I think it was. There has been a dump site at the Texaco in Custer.

Hill City has good town amenities/grocery shopping and some touristy art & jewelry shops. Here are some pictures from our stay there in 2010.

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Not quite subject of this thread, but... Teddy Roosevelt Badlands north unit at Medora ND is interesting. (NPS passes valid; camping ... only $5 a night IIRC?) I've been there a couple times, including a 2-night stay so we could take the auto tour north of I-94. First come/first served campground is used by a lot of people in transit. Pickings get shorter much past mid-afternoon. Gets quite busy but most campers pull out the next morning. No diesel fuel available at Medora. :sad: We woke up at 6:00 AM on August 30, 2011, with the park herd of bison munching their way past our Safari. A photo from next to the campground --
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CanoeStream 01-21-2013 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by mojo (Post 1251589)
You may want to include Devils Tower and the Custer Battlefield on your trip, the 7th Cavalry CG is a good spot to stay for touring the battlefield.

We did Custer Battlefield last August while fishing at Ft. Smith, MT. Awe inspiring and respectful to both opponents. Do listen to the ranger speak at the HQ before touring around. And drive the whole loop down to the Reno-Benteen battlefield. This would be quite a long day trip from the Black Hills. It takes a minimum of 3 hours to even scratch the surface once you arrive.

robert claus 01-21-2013 07:14 PM

Custer State Park, and the Badlands
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The Badlands NP has two campgrounds- Cedar Pass, which is developed, and Sage Creek, which is not. We stayed a night at each, and Sage Creek, which has no utilities at all, is quiet, wild, and dark, as well as at the end of 12 miles of washboard dirt road. We have a fond memory of the buffalo herd grazing its way through Sage Creek within feet of the trailer.
Custer State Park has a variety of campgrounds, and the southern ones Like Stockade or Game Lodge should have no problem accommodating your 30'er. As Bob said, Sylvan Lake at the north end is harder to get to, and the sites are tight. We were there in Sept, arriving at the east entrance to the park, where we made a reservation for a campsite (using the phone at the entry gatehouse to call the State Parks Res center- they can't assign a campsite in the park). Looking at the map, the shortest way to Sylvan Lake was via the Needles Scenic Hwy, which led to this-

robert claus 01-21-2013 07:25 PM

Little Big Horn
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Also, as Bob said, the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument is a sobering place to visit, and well worth the time to stop if you are on I-90 in southeastern MT. The Ranger talk about the history of the conflicts between Indians and soldiers, and about Custer, left a deep impression.

n2916s 01-21-2013 08:24 PM

If you enjoy dry camping, the campground in Devils Tower National Monument is beautiful and only 12 bucks a night.


nilesrob 01-21-2013 10:29 PM

In the sightseeing department, aside from some of the more obvious points of interest, we visited Jewel Cave National Monument which is a bit west of Rushmore. Really interesting, although as a claustrophobic, I was not inclined to go into the caves. The caves stretch for many miles; just plain cool even if you don't go down into the caves.

TG Twinkie 01-21-2013 11:05 PM

Check out the WELIKIT RV park near Custer, SD. Not far from town and very secluded. 1-877-576-9016 Nice setting among the tall pines.

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