Not a bad little spot.. Close to town and near a peaceful stream.. Owner is very nice. The only negative is that It's close to the road and truckers use their Jake brakes all hours of the day and night, so don't expect to sleep in.
Allen Ranch offers RV, Tipi, Canvas, and basic tent sites located under shade along the river. Pull-thru sites are also available. All RV sites have water and electricity, with a dump station available on site. I only took a star away because of the loud road next to it. I didn't mind but some of my family mentioned it once or twice so I thought it needed to be scored.
Allen himself stopped by on our first day to say hi. And he is a really nice guy! He is a former Park Service Law Enforcement Officer and Fire Ranger. He bought this land a long time ago and didn't want to leave it to work at other parks. He knows everyone in town and can recommend some great spots to visit. He started this campground and has been maintaining it with his family for a long time. It's on a beautiful strip of land right on the Fall River. The Fall River is fed by hot springs so the water stays nice and just slightly chilled. Almost feels like getting into a heated pool, like where you step in say "ahh that's nice" instead of cringe with chills. Since we were the only tent campers there we offered to mow the grass or help set up the tipis but Allen wanted us to just relax since he had his family helping him. So that is what we did. I did offer him a nice cold beer out of my Icemule cooler though. He was shocked to see "such a neat contraption!"
There are 12 RV sites, 6 tent sites, 1 group site, and 3 tipis. I saw one canvas tent that was set up. You can call ahead and reserve sites but we found that we could just drive up and put our names on a site as put the money in an envelope at the shower house. On a busy weekend I would call ahead.
Tent sites: $25 to book and $5 for each additional person.
RV site: $40 for 2 people and $5 for each additional person.
Group site: $8 per person for groups 10+
Tipi: $70 (plus $5 per additional person) for basic (you furnish), $130 per couple for everything included (including breakfast)
Glamping tent: $130 per couple (min 2) and $25 for each add person for everything included (including breakfast)
RV sites: Sites are within walking distance to the shower building with hot water and restrooms. They are right when you pull into the campground so you don't get the generators bugging you at night. They are far enough away from the tent sites to create good space.
Tent sites: There is a large group site across from the shower house. There isn't much shade for the group site but it is large enough for a good sized group.
The other tent sites are right next to each other so when it is busy, it would be packed. We got lucky and we were the only ones there so we got our pick of the sites. We chose sites 2 and 3 since they were perfect for our sized group and had the best flow section of the river right at the site. We were able to walk right into the water and hang out on tubes without feeling like we were sucked into cattails or "rapids".
The sites hadn't been mowed, so the grass was a little tall, but we came at the end of a very rainy and snowy week and Allen hadn't had a chance to mow since were there the first day it stopped snowing/raining.
Other than being right next to the main road, the sound of the creek and the cottonwood trees blowing in the wind was lovely. The road wasn't too noisy and the sound went way down at night.
There are tables at each site with 3-4 wooden round seats. The seats weren't super sturdy but the tables were great for keeping our food off the ground and away from our dogs.
The tent sites are pretty far away from the bathroom and there isn't a place to properly go to the bathroom near the site without being seen from the main road. So that is the only big downfall.
There is a port-o-potty up by the tipis and the canvas tent.
The showers are free and hot. They aren't the most up to date facilities but they are functional and easy to use.
There is a grill on site but it wasn't open when we were there, I think it is mostly open for Summer. They also offer catering for large groups, reunions, weddings and celebrations of any kind. As Allen says: "Come join us for a fun filled , relaxing camping experience near Hot Springs located in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota Mountain hiking, Interpretive talks and warm water river tubing down gentle Fall River, which runs through the entire campground."
Inner tubes are provided FREE for the guests too. They are located right next to the playground.
There is also a big stage on site where i'm guessing bands or events can play or take place.
As a ranger we sometimes get the opportunity to review products that would benefit the camping experience. On this trip, I decided that floating down a river with family was the perfect time to review the IceMule Jaunt Cooler from https://icemulecoolers.com/.
I chose the Jaunt because I wanted something that was easy to carry just a few beers instead of my whole fridge in a bag. Icemule does a great job of creating lots of options for cooler sizes and the Jaunt seemed to be the perfect fit for my lifestyle. Plus, I LOVED the colors!
It says that it can hold a six pack or 3 bottles of wine. At first It seems like it can hold a lot more than that based on it's height, but I quickly learned that it won't properly keep chilled or stay leakproof if it is filled too much. OOPS! Once I learned to fill it properly, it worked like a charm. Even floats when you need to pass it between people on the water.
There is a front pocket on the bag that is supposed to be waterproof but the zipper is lined along the outside with no real way to close it fully so I wouldn't trust it to keep things inside perfectly dry. It is also hard to zip with one hand (see video) which is something that would make it easier to use.
Other than that, it was a great addition to our basecamping and day trip gear. It sites comfortably on my back and isn't too heavy being filled with liquid. It is WAY easier to carry than a cooler and way more more enticing to drink cold beer that wasn't just shook up in a warm backpack while out snowshoeing.