With seasonal access this campground can get pretty crowded during peak season due to its close proximity to Santa Fe as well as the amazing outdoor spaces. Driving out of the city you leave the desolation and low laying vegetation and are transported into an oasis of tall growth trees and mountain living. It is hard to believe that less than 10 miles separates these two spaces because of the dramatic difference in appearance. This place really has the best of both worlds!
Driving into the camp, you have three options: Walk-In Camping, Camping With Parking Access & Limited Access.
The walk-in spaces are directly to your right across a small bridge with flowing stream below. Some of the spaces are close enough to the stream that you can hear the gentle trickle of water to put your to sleep at night. Parking for these sections is limited, so it is not recommended to take advantage of these if you are with a party bringing more than one vehicle.
The units with parking are well spaced. Pavement and landscaping create separation which allows each camper to have their own space without feeling cramped. Throughout this section are staggered water stations with potable water and toilets as well as trash cans which are weighted to keep animals away.
A trailhead can be accessed from the rear of this camping area so during busy season there are hikers which park in one of the two lots creating excessive foot traffic throughout the camp;. My suggestion would be to avoid site 24 or 26 which are the sites positioned on either side of the official trailhead.
Each site in the campground is equipped with a fire ring and grill top, a picnic table and a lantern hook. Though this campground has not showers the potable water is a nice touch for those visiting making it much more convenient than other area limited access camps.
Because the trailhead leaves from the campground, throughout the off season the first restroom, the one by the trailhead parking and the walk-in camping does remain open along with the water access to the potable/drinking water fountain at this point of entry.
Check the Kiosk when you arrive, this are will provide any information you might need about the area including any potential dangers on trails, closures or maps.
The pay box is located on the kiosk in the bricks. It is a weird place and isn't the most well marked so rather than looking around for a while and contemplating what to do when you see the broken pay box (previously used) just look down in the middle on the rocks.
The camp host is available during open season and is located in the first space of the drive in loop, when in doubt always remember they are there to help you find information.
This place had options for all: tent sites, camper sites, RV, cabins. Etc. We stayed at the Black Canyon site and the options were plentiful. No showers but clean pit toilets are abundant. There is also a nice playground for those traveling with little ones who may need to burn some steam. Each site had a shelter and a grill as well as fire pit. Many hiking options also from easy to advanced. Plan on spending more than one night and you'll be glad you did
Was able to hike around black canyon with our dog Millie without a care in the world. Always love the ability to hike any where in South Dakota