Places to Camp near Wind Cave National Park

With views of the Black Hills, open prairies, and pine forests, some of the best camping spots are in Wind Cave National Park. Near Hot Springs, SD, campers can stock up on camping supplies before pitching their tents. Campgrounds around the South Dakota park accommodate RV drivers, and also offer cabins and yurts as additional sleeping options. Backpack through the park watching birds perch calmly on the backs of bison. Elk and pronghorn antelopes also roam the prairies and forests. Campsites by the cave are a prime opportunity to discover the underground marvels that include the famous Wind Cave, and the subterranean chambers known as the Post Office and Elk’s Room.

Best Camping Sites Near Wind Cave National Park, SD (169)

    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park

    1.

    Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park

    40 Reviews
    158 Photos
    239 Saves
    Pringle, South Dakota

    Overview

    Elk Mountain Campground, straddles the edge of a ponderosa pine forest and open prairie, offering unique opportunities to view the diverse flora and fauna of the southern Black Hills. These campsites are available in both forested and open environments. May 20 to September 30: Customers can reserve reservations in advace or for the same day.__ October 1 to May 19: Elk Mountain Campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Visitors must arrive at the campground to purchase and claim a site. Once on-site, you can pay for your campsite(s) by scanning a QR code using the Recreation.gov mobile app. The QR code is located at the campgroudn kiosk. Please download the Recreation.gov mobile app before you leave for your trip (see our "Need to Know" tab for more information). NOTE: This is a cashless campground. Only credit cards will be accepted through Recreation.gov or the Recreation.gov mobile app.

    Recreation

    Hiking at Wind Cave View rolling prairie vistas, ponderosa forests, and see wildlife in its natural environment. Wind Cave National Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails on the surface and provides visitors the opportunity to view pristine Black Hills scenery. Find out which trail is the best for you. Pet Friendly Hikes If you are traveling with a furry friend, Wind Cave has two pet friendly trails. Both are close to the visitor center and about one mile in length. Become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger Kids of all ages can become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger. Complete the activity book, learn about the park, and take the pledge to earn a Junior Ranger badge.

    Facilities

    Hiking at Wind Cave View rolling prairie vistas, ponderosa forests, and see wildlife in its natural environment. Wind Cave National Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails on the surface and provides visitors the opportunity to view pristine Black Hills scenery. Find out which trail is the best for you. Pet Friendly Hikes If you are traveling with a furry friend, Wind Cave has two pet friendly trails. Both are close to the visitor center and about one mile in length. Become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger Kids of all ages can become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger. Complete the activity book, learn about the park, and take the pledge to earn a Junior Ranger badge.

    Natural Features

    Wind Cave National Park protects two very different worlds - one deep within the earth, the other a sunlit world of many resources. Bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks.__ Visit Wind Cave's Natural Entrance You can still see the largest natural opening into Wind Cave without going on a tour. This small hole is one of the only known natural entrances into the cave. Lakota oral tradition speaks of how the first bison and humans emerged from this deeply spiritual place.

    contact_info

    This location is unstaffed. To speak with our main office for general information, please call: (605) 745-4600.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch
    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch
    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch
    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch
    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch
    Camper-submitted photo from Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch

    2.

    Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch

    52 Reviews
    211 Photos
    160 Saves
    Hill City, South Dakota

    Welcome to Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch, a bustling campground near Hill City, SD. This place is packed with amenities and activities, making it a hit for families and groups. You’ll find two pools, a splash pad, and a jumping pillow to keep the kids entertained. There’s also a variety of dining options, including a restaurant, coffee shop, and even a spot for tacos and margaritas.

    For those who love outdoor adventures, you can rent side-by-sides or take a chuck wagon ride. Horseback riding is also available, offering a unique way to explore the beautiful surroundings. The campground is just a short drive from Mount Rushmore, making it a convenient base for exploring the iconic monument and other nearby attractions.

    The campground offers a mix of tent, RV, and cabin accommodations. Some sites are a bit tight, especially for larger RVs, but there are patio pull-through options that provide a bit more space. The property is generally clean, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

    One thing to note is that cell reception can be spotty, so be prepared to disconnect a bit. Wi-Fi is available but can be unreliable, so plan accordingly if you need to stay connected.

    Overall, Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch is a lively and family-friendly campground with plenty to do. Whether you’re here for the amenities or the proximity to Mount Rushmore, you’re sure to have a memorable stay.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
  1. 3.

    Big Pine Campground

    34 Reviews
    75 Photos
    321 Saves
    Custer, South Dakota

    Want seclusion and serenity? Come nestle under the whispering pines at Big Pine Campground where we strive to make every guest a return guest. Your Ideal Campground for Visiting the Beautiful Black Hills of SD. We are conveniently located near Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Jewel Cave, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park,  the Michelson Trail and many other fun attractions.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • Tents

    $27 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park

    4.

    Sylvan Lake Campground — Custer State Park

    38 Reviews
    176 Photos
    393 Saves
    Custer, South Dakota

    Anyone who has camped at Sylvan Lake campground in South Dakota’s Custer State Park knows that Black Hills camping doesn’t get much better than this. Sylvan Lake Campground is one of eight designated campgrounds in Custer State Park, and one of the best public land destinations for camping in the Black Hills of southwest South Dakota. The region’s expanse of dense forests, rolling prairies and granite mountain peaks (the very same peaks that were used to form Mount Rushmore) offer photo-snapping tourists and laced-up explorers alike a chance to dive into the ecology of the American West.

    For campers looking for a comfortable and convenient basecamp for diving into the region’s scenery and activities, Sylvan Lake campground is the place to be for many reasons. First, the 40-site campground offers access to the popular swimming spot of Sylvan Lake, where campers might feel inclined to spend their entire stay on the rocky beach of this scenic body of water. There’s also access to multiple hiking trails, suitable for all skill levels, including a trail that takes you to the curious and beautiful Black Elk Peak, the highest summit-able point east of the Rocky Mountains. Both a family-friendly spot and a hardcore adventurer’s playground, Sylvan Lake is Black Hills camping for everyone.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park

    5.

    Blue Bell Campground — Custer State Park

    28 Reviews
    93 Photos
    203 Saves
    Custer, South Dakota

    Welcome to Blue Bell Campground in Custer State Park, South Dakota. Nestled among tall pines, this campground offers a serene escape with a touch of rustic charm. The sites here are spacious and reasonably level, making it a breeze to set up camp whether you're in a tent, RV, or cabin.

    One of the standout features is the clean and well-maintained restroom and shower facilities. You’ll also find a central outdoor movie area with benches, perfect for winding down after a day of exploring. The campground hosts are known for their friendliness and knowledge, always ready to lend a hand or share a tip about the best spots to visit.

    For those who need it, there are electric hookups available, though some campers have noted that the electrical boxes can be a bit far from the tent pads. If you’re planning to use electricity, it might be wise to bring an extra-long extension cord just in case.

    The nearby Blue Bell Lodge adds to the convenience with its restaurant and small gas station. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, take a hike to the river past the cabins and horse trails. The scenery is absolutely magical, especially after a storm when the air is fresh and the landscape glistens.

    Firewood is available for purchase at the general store near the entrance, and if you’re in the mood for a meal out, the lodge’s cafe offers good food and a friendly atmosphere.

    Overall, Blue Bell Campground is a fantastic spot for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Custer State Park with the added comfort of modern amenities. Whether you’re here for a weekend or an extended stay, you’ll find plenty to love about this charming campground.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park

    6.

    Stockade North Campground — Custer State Park

    25 Reviews
    95 Photos
    136 Saves
    Custer, South Dakota

    The granite peaks and rolling plains are calling. The clear mountain waters are inviting and the open ranges are waiting to be discovered. Bring your family to Custer State Park and let yourself run wild.

    Encompassing 71,000 acres in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is home to abundant wildlife and adventure; camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, or relaxing, there’s something here for everyone.

    Feeding and disturbing park wildlife are against park regulations. While the animals within the park are used by visitors and vehicles, they are still wild animals. Please remain in your vehicle or stay at least 100 yards from bison, elk, and other animals.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $30 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park

    7.

    Game Lodge Campground — Custer State Park

    24 Reviews
    76 Photos
    131 Saves
    Keystone, South Dakota

    Centrally located in the park along US Hyw 16A near the Visitor Center, Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, Tatanka Barn, and State Game Lodge, the Game Lodge Campground offers a bit of everything. Grace Coolidge Creek flows through the campground into a swimming beach near the playground.

    Open: April 1 - November 15 with full facilities (may change based on weather conditions) Open House Weekend - October 1 with cold water laundry November 16 - March 31 with comfort station closed, vault toilets and water hydrant available

    Located south of the Visitor Center, near the junction of US Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road

    Staffed: Camp attendant and on-site campground host.

    Sanitation & Water: Flush toilets and showers (2 facilities), dump station, drinking water, vault toilets

    ADA & Accessibility: Camping Cabins GL 5 or Campsites (electric hookup) 3E and 26E

    State Game Lodge is ¼ mile west of the campground. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, State Game Lodge served as the Summer White House for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. Coolidge General Store is 1 mile west of the campground.

    Amenities: Full service restaurant, Buffalo Safari Jeep rides, lodging and resort cabins, gift shop, laundromat, fishing licenses, convenience store & gift shop, fuel

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $26 - $55 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park

    8.

    Center Lake Campground — Custer State Park

    26 Reviews
    50 Photos
    96 Saves
    Keystone, South Dakota

    Welcome to Center Lake Campground in Custer State Park, South Dakota. Nestled near the city of Custer, this campground is a gem for families and nature lovers alike. Open from April 29 to September 30, it offers a serene escape with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.

    The campground features picnic tables, fire rings, and clean restrooms. While there are no electric hookups, you’ll find drinking water and firewood available. Pets are welcome, and you can enjoy a campfire under the stars. The highlight here is Center Lake, perfect for swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boating. If you’re into hiking, there are trails nearby that offer stunning views and abundant wildlife.

    One thing to note is that reservations are same-day only, which is great if you’re the spontaneous type. Just remember, it costs $20 to enter the park. The campground is divided into two loops, with the upper loop offering slightly more space between sites. The tent-only section is a walk-in area, providing a bit more seclusion.

    Visitors have praised the friendly staff and the peaceful atmosphere. The roads are paved, and while the driveways are somewhat level, there’s not much privacy between sites. However, the natural beauty and the sound of the creek nearby make up for it. Showers are available near the lake, and they even have hot water.

    For families with kids, the Toca Life APK game is a hit, offering endless entertainment and educational value. So, pack your bags, grab your tent or RV, and head over to Center Lake Campground for a memorable outdoor adventure.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $20 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Horsethief Lake Campground

    9.

    Horsethief Lake Campground

    29 Reviews
    99 Photos
    295 Saves
    Keystone, South Dakota

    Overview

    Located 10 miles south of Hill City, South Dakota, Horsethief Lake Campground is a delightful setting for visitors seeking recreation and relaxation in Black Hills National Forest. This campground is 2 miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial and adjacent to Horsethief Lake. Sites are tucked into a forest of towering ponderosa and lodgepole pine.

    Recreation

    Black Hills National Forest offers visitors a multitude of recreational opportunites throughout all seasons. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles are popular in summer and early autumn. Winter landscapes are ideal for snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling. Hundreds of miles of trails and roads offer a variety of terrain for mountain bikers. Hikers and bikers can access the nearby George S. Mickelson Trail, which traverses over 100 miles through the heart of the Black Hills. The majority of the trail follows an abandoned railroad branch line and includes 4 tunnels, over 100 converted railroad bridges, and 15 established trailheads. The trail surface is packed gravel, traversing mountain, meadow, and forest terrain. The trail is named in honor of the former South Dakota governor who crusaded for the trail. For those seeking higher elevations, a day-long trek to the summit of nearby Black Elk Peak is worth the effort. Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the summit is bare granite and offers expansive views of the surrounding area. An old stone tower at the top(Harney Lookout Tower), once used as a fire lookout, is still open to hikers.

    Facilities

    Black Hills National Forest offers visitors a multitude of recreational opportunites throughout all seasons. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles are popular in summer and early autumn. Winter landscapes are ideal for snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling. Hundreds of miles of trails and roads offer a variety of terrain for mountain bikers. Hikers and bikers can access the nearby George S. Mickelson Trail, which traverses over 100 miles through the heart of the Black Hills. The majority of the trail follows an abandoned railroad branch line and includes 4 tunnels, over 100 converted railroad bridges, and 15 established trailheads. The trail surface is packed gravel, traversing mountain, meadow, and forest terrain. The trail is named in honor of the former South Dakota governor who crusaded for the trail. For those seeking higher elevations, a day-long trek to the summit of nearby Black Elk Peak is worth the effort. Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the summit is bare granite and offers expansive views of the surrounding area. An old stone tower at the top(Harney Lookout Tower), once used as a fire lookout, is still open to hikers.

    Natural Features

    Located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, Black Hills National Forest encompasses nearly 1.25 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves. Derived from the Lakota language, the words "Paha Sapa," meaning "hills that are black," honor the dark, pine-covered hills rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie. Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate mountainous terrain, while elk, deer and pronghorn gather in forests and prairies. Bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcon, and hundreds of other bird species can be found in the forest, especially along streams, lakes and rivers.

    contact_info

    For facility specific information, please call (605) 574-4402.

    Nearby Attractions

    Explore Mount Rushmore National Memorial, host to almost 3 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. Visitors may want to inquire about any Independence Day Celebrations taking place on the Mountain. Possible day trips include Custer State Park with its many Buffalo and other wildlife, Crazy Horse Monument and Wind Cave National Park as well as Jewel Cave which is the second longest cave in the world at 159.29 miles. It features sparkling calcite crystals and other rare formations, as well as some of the largest concentrations of passageways in the world..

    Charges & Cancellations

    No refunds will be given for weather related events.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    • Market

    $26 - $28 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park

    10.

    Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV Park

    21 Reviews
    24 Photos
    88 Saves
    Custer, South Dakota

    Located on the scenic Norbeck Byway away from the areas busy highways yet just one mile North of the historic city of Custer as you enter the heart of the Black Hills. Your adventure begins the minute you leave our gates.

    Just minutes from Crazy Horse, Sylvan Lake, The Needles, Jewel Cave, and Custer State Park. Easy access to Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Sturgis, and all the Black Hills Area attractions.

    100 unique sites situated in the tall, cool pines that make camping in the Black Hills an experience not soon forgotten. Sites range from full service to rustic and from private to group and family friendly, so that everyone can have the camping or RV experience they desire. ​​​ All the amenities with the cozy feeling of camping in a National Forest campground.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
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Frequently Asked Questions

What camping is available near Wind Cave National Park?

According to TheDyrt.com, Wind Cave National Park offers a wide range of camping options, with 169 campgrounds and RV parks near Wind Cave National Park and 19 free dispersed camping spots.

Which is the most popular campground near Wind Cave National Park?

According to TheDyrt.com, the most popular campground near Wind Cave National Park is Elk Mountain Campground — Wind Cave National Park with a 4.3-star rating from 40 reviews.

Where can I find free dispersed camping near Wind Cave National Park?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 19 free dispersed camping spots near Wind Cave National Park.

What parks are near Wind Cave National Park?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 6 parks near Wind Cave National Park that allow camping, notably Jamestown Reservoir and Black Hills National Forest.