Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

Planning trip to SD soon - have never been there. would like some opinions on campgrounds in mt rushmore area. we are retired, no children, would like quiet, shady campground with room to move around. any special sites we should take in??? appreciate any help you can give. Thanks.
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

thanks for the reply. were the sites at the KOA all lined up side by side, or was there a little privacy at each one?? have had mostly good luck with koas in the past, just wasn't sure about the area. not sure we're going now, with the fire there. thanks!!
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

We stayed four days at the KOA near Rushmore.

It was pretty good. Waterslide for the kids. Nightly entertainment, and free shuttle busses to Rushmore and CrazyHorse.

They were having power problems when I was there (It was about 100 degrees)
But I'd go back
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore


Try the Rafter J Bar Ranch campground in Hill City, SD. Not too far from Rushmore and centrally located to all the Black Hills activities. We have stayed there on a number of occasions over the last 14 years and have never been disappointed. Beautiful setting and plenty of room. Great amenities. They have a website.

Also since you will be in the area, be sure to see the Badlands (one of my favorite National Parks).
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

If you go to Hill City. There is a train there that runs to Keystone. The most interesting thing about the train is that is truly was a train run for the mines. Was for hauling out ore.

In Keystone...There is a mine... Back in the 1800's. A man arrived in the Black Hills with his daughter. He said he was going to stake a claim and mine. The mine, he was going to name after his departed wife. Everyone was surprised when he named the mine: "Holy Terror".

If you have a toad. You should drive the Needles Highway. Drive it at twilight, am or pm. Good chance of seeing wildlife. You can't take a large vehicle because there are several very interesting tunnels. They are small and only one lane. Smallest is only eight feet wide.

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs is rather interesting. There is a bunch of mammoths preserved in what was a sink hole. It's just the bones...but is bones...not fossils.

I really like visiting the Blue Bell Resort in Custer State Park. It is extremely nice. Old. Not real huge or anything. Just super nice. Good cooking.

Sylvan Lake has always been a favorite of locals in summer. In the old days, they loved that it didn't have insects.

The Devils Tower is just over the border in Wyoming.

Wind Cave National Park is down south close to Hot Springs. Rather interesting as you find out just how vast the cave system in the Black Hills is.

Deadwood is where the great Homestake Gold Mine was claimed. Deadwood is where all those blow out of proportion western stories about people were written. The people actually lived...and told their stories to the writer there....but when his books came out...their lives were a little more colorfull :clown:

There is actually a bunch of stuff in the Hills. And then you have the Badlands nearby which has been mentioned.

If you were to wander south to Hot Springs. I know of a campground that has no hookups. The spaces also are up above ground level. So I don't think people like it much. But it does offer privacy. Not much use. I love the area. It's very very nice. Nice small lake down the hill from the campground. The campground is at Cottonwood Springs Recreation area..Corp Of Engineers.

Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

I forgot to mention. You do not want to come to the Black Hills during August. That is when they have the Sturgis motorcycle rally. It's like a swarm of locusts on motorcycles all over this part of the state. They come early. They leave late. There are people in the Hills who leave during that time.

Prices are higher everywhere in SD during the rally on everything. 200 miles away, the motel prices are the highest during the rally only.

On the Humorous Side. I was in a convenience store during the rally last year. Like many convenience stores, they sell these cheap little pocket knives for something like five bucks. During the rally, they put a sign on them saying: "Sturgis Knives". I saw that and thought it was the peak of commercialization for the rally. Since then, I have always bugged them about it by pointing to the chicken they sell and saying: "Can I have some of that Sturgis Chicken?"

Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

Be sure and stop by Wall's Drugstore while in S.D. near the Badlands. It is so neat! We didn't have as much time to shop all the stores, but did have a wonderful meal! We loved that place! We also stayed at the Hill City KOA. We really enjoyed it although it was a bit crowded when we were there in Aug.
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

Birddog - enjoyed your review :)

As for closest campsite to Mt Rushmore? The KOA advertises being the closest - but there are three others in the area that appear closer (on the map) - are they more difficult to get to or is the KOA really closer and the map not to scale??

The ones I am referring to are: Kemp's Kamp (nice website), Miner's RV Park Resort and Battle Creek campground ... any reviews on these???

Carolyn - we are planning a trip next summer to Mt Rushmore - so will look forward to hearing about your experiences. :)
Campgrounds near Mount Rushmore

I wouldn't be too good at advising campgrounds. I live here, so don't use the campgrounds for travelers. I can say that I find Keystone to be a bit crowded. Rushmore is about a one mile drive up a big wide road out of Keystone. Keystone is also a bit small, so it gets crowded easy.
Custer gets crowded. But it is much larger and can accomodate crowds. Also, if you have kids....Custer has a "Flintstones" campground...the kids might prefer that?
I think you'll find things are close to each other in the Hills. Very nice driving. I don't mind driving anywhere here. There is something special nice about The Hills.
I can say I remember (somewhere) on a forum talking about a campground in Hill City. A few people mentioned it is the best, close to Rushmore. They didn't have too good of things to say about more than one that was closer.