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Free Camping Collection

Established Camping

Sage Creek Campground

About

National Park Service

Badlands National Park

Sage Creek Campground is a primitive campground. There is no charge to stay here and camping is available on a first come first serve basis. The campground rarely fills to capacity.

Reservation Info

Sage Creek Campground is first-come first-serve

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Location

Sage Creek Campground is located in South Dakota

Detail location of campground

Directions

The campground is located in the Sage Creek Wilderness. It is accessible only via the Sage Creek Rim Rd which is accessible either by Highway 44 or Highway 240.

Address

Sage Creek Campground
Wall, SD 57790

Coordinates

43.893146 N
102.414254 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Unknown
  • Verizon
    Unknown
  • AT&T
    Unknown
  • T-Mobile
    Unknown

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group
  • Equestrian

Features

For Campers

  • Trash
  • Phone Service
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol

Reviews

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5 Stars

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1 Star

54%
38%
10%
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4.5

out of 5

96 Reviews

cThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2024

Hot

At first we didn’t love it. It’s hot. No shade. No fires. Some picnic tables have a shade but they were all taken. I guess about 20 sights here I found trails to the creek. Win for me. Up early and holy WOW, buffalo start roaming through camp! 2 came right on through the middle of the campers loop scratching on posts and rolling in dirt behind our tent. Unbelievable. A handful more were roaming around on the other side of the creek. Me may have gotten bitten by prairie dog fleas though and they have a plague. I read the sign in the morning AFTER and we were leaving. I think we will survive. Worth every bite. The toilet house is nice with trash and hand sanitizer. No signal or water or electricity here. Lots of stars at night.

Site3rdspot past the bathhouse on the backside
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by carla R., July 12, 2024
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by carla R., July 12, 2024
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by carla R., July 12, 2024
  • (8) View All
Alex D.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jun. 21, 2024

Sleep with the Buffalo!!

What a sweet little spot! This is a 22 site, first come first served campground - no reservations & a 14 day limit. We visited in June & it was BUSY. The sites were all full by 4pm - but there is room to squeeze in extra tents/cars! There are no fires allowed here but there are two bathroom, and plenty of trash cans. The best part though is I can almost promise you’ll get up close & personal with some buffalo. Be respectful!!!

Site12
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Alex D., June 21, 2024
  • keep your pets leashed
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  • (8) View All
L
Reviewed May. 13, 2024

Free camping with wildlife

Campground is basic. Only 2 (very clean) vault toilets, no water or electricity. I got there a little before 3pm on mother's day; it was full by 8. Only a handful of sites have sun covers over the picnic tables. You will be very close to other campers. Most are respectful. I would just recommend getting there before dark to keep from disturbing everyone. Prairie dogs galore in the center and on the periphery of the campground. My dog was fascinated by them. As noted by others, you will most likely be serenaded by coyotes and have morning visits from the bison. I also heard wild turkeys off in the woods.

Site14
Month of VisitJune
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Leslie B., May 13, 2024
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Leslie B., May 13, 2024
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Leslie B., May 13, 2024
  • (4) View All
Nate R.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2023

Free camp in Badlands!

It is a area about the size of a city block that you camp in the middle of and park around. It is popular so try not to show up late. Plenty of tent camping inside the loop. Parking can be and issue. By 9.pm some small RVs came and couldn't find space left to park. Vault toilets, trails, some picnic tables, scenery. Woke up to a buffalo 30 yards from my tent. Other people said they walk right thru camp. Prairie dogs everywhere, so watch your step for holes. I got yelled at by a prairie dog on my hike up the hill lol. Our stay was short but enjoyable.

Sitedidn't see any numbers
Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Nate R., November 12, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Nate R., November 12, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Nate R., November 12, 2023
Laura M.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2023

Free!

Great free campground in the Badlands Wilderness area. Follow Sage Creek Rd and watch for signs for the campground. Made it no problem in a 26’ motorhome, but it is a 12 mile dirt road with a lot of washboard so things get rattled and covered in fine powdery dirt. Totally worth it though because on the way out you get amazing views from the top along the ridge of Badlands plus bison, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and hundreds of prairie dogs along the road on the way. 

The campground is a loop that has parallel parking around it and sites are designated by numbered posts. There is a horse camp area to one side and toward the right as you pull in and many people just made up spots not in the loop but behind the bathroom and along near the horse camp, so if you made the long drive out you should have at least somewhere to squeeze in for the night.

There are picnic tables, some which are covered and two pit toilet bathrooms. Also there is garbage and recycling. There is no water here so be sure to bring enough as temps can get quite hot. Some reviews mention the wind being an issue and though it was windy at first it died down and was calm all night. 

It was nice when we were there in late Sept. There were plenty of empty spots in late afternoon but filled up through the evening. Bison frequently come through the campground and use the posts to scratch themselves. Don’t be an idiot though (we saw some of that) these are huge wild animals and do not want selfies with you! 

There were also a lot of coyotes that came through at night so be aware if you have a pet. 

Weak and spotty cell reception with ATT and Verizon and no TMobile.

Site25
Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Laura M., October 5, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Laura M., October 5, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Laura M., October 5, 2023
  • (7) View All
Emily T.
Reviewed Sep. 22, 2023

best camping spot ever

Wild animals everywhere, you're camping on the ground with the prarie dogs, lots of rabbits, birds, and bison coming through the campground as well. Next to the campground is a small walk up a steep hill to get good overlooks, and trails down to the creek with fossils.

  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Emily T., September 22, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Emily T., September 22, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Emily T., September 22, 2023
  • (8) View All
M
Reviewed Sep. 14, 2023

Great spot with even better views

Got in fairly late, was quite busy but we found a spot. The views and nearby trails are unbelievably beautiful at sunset. Just bare in mind (if you’re camping) that the site is very open so, we were struck by very heavy winds in the night due to a storm.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Michael A., September 14, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Michael A., September 14, 2023
Jeff H.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Sep. 12, 2023

Prairie dogs galore

If your looking for a place to crash with no shade and hundreds of Prairie dogs, then this is the place for you.

We showed up about four and every site but one was taken. The site actually stayed busy through the night and most just found a empty spot and racked out.

Overall it’s a nice campsite with a significant number of Prairie dogs and a bathroom that was clean but toilets definitely haven’t been pumped in quite some time.

Pro tip: If I haven’t mentioned Prairie dogs, they have a lot and, they apparently love grapes or anything they can get their little hands on.

Site1
Month of VisitOctober
Hilary S.
Reviewed Sep. 5, 2023

Lots of wildlife!

On the drive in and out to Sage Creek, I saw all the major mammals of the park (bison, prairie dogs, deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn), and there was even two bison grazing at the equestrian site in the morning. 

The campground is nice and dark and had a great view of the Milky Way. There is no water at camp, which was made very clear on the park website and map. Sage Creek did have some water flow when I went, so I could have filtered some if I needed more. 

My main criticism is that only a handful of the sites had shades for the picnic tables. When I arrived, the campground was less than half full, but none of the remaining sites had a shade. For a park that gets this hot and doesn't really have trees or other shade, I think this should be provided at each site.

Site15
Month of VisitSeptember
Wojtek M.
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2023

stop after Mt. Rushmore on a road trip

beautiful, remote, a bison didn't bother anyone, saw a snake, stargazing

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Wojtek M., August 20, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Wojtek M., August 20, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Wojtek M., August 20, 2023
Sumner C.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2023

Great location

Great views, prairie dogs were so cool to see running around the camp site. Bison everywhere on the drive in and a few even walking around the camp site. Super close to badlands park entrance. Toilets were clean and covered picnic tables were a huge plus! We got there late on a Wednesday night and still found a spot with ease.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Play button icon
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Sumner C., July 25, 2023
Arden C.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2023

dope spot

Basically in the middle of the park. Prairie dogs all around when you wake up! Pit toilets, covered picnic tables. Bison walked right through the campsite.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Arden C., July 11, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Arden C., July 11, 2023
Angie B.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jun. 24, 2023

Camping WITH the bison!!

First- the coordinates take you to the visitor center, which then allows you to drive through the park on your way to the campground. I highly recommend entering Sage Creek Campground into your GPS at the visitor center, because it was a very long and winding road after that! Or, if you're short on time, put Sage Creek Campground in from the highway and you'll get there a lot more quickly (but miss out on some spectacular views!). Second- the campground was full when I got there, but I'm glad I had this app/read the reviews. People were very accommodating and you really can just pick an open patch of grass if it's full when you get there. Even though it was full, it was reasonably quiet. And I got to see bison and prairie dogs up close and personal...so COOL!!

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Angie B., June 24, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Angie B., June 24, 2023
Ryan
Reviewed Jun. 16, 2023

Lots of wildlife

Came in and saw bison, prairie dog, and rattlesnake! The Backcounty was nice and quiet aside from the prairie dogs squeaking.

Sitebackcountry
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Ryan , June 16, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Ryan , June 16, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Ryan , June 16, 2023
  • (5) View All
Holly K.
Reviewed Jun. 11, 2023

Great spot

Gravel road to get there but so worth it to camp for free in the national park. Definitely a lot of buffalo around. Vault toilets, no running or potable water. Covered picnic tables are great for shade but terrible for rain.

Site6
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Holly K., June 11, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Holly K., June 11, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Holly K., June 11, 2023
  • (4) View All
Daniel H.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jun. 1, 2023

Sage Creek Campground - Phenomenal Primitive Camping

If you keep in mind that this is a primitive campground, you'll be just fine.  Concrete vault toilets, no water, nice covered picnic tables and phenomenal views.

Month of VisitApril
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Daniel H., June 1, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Daniel H., June 1, 2023
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Daniel H., June 1, 2023
  • (7) View All
GThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 10, 2023

Camping with wildlife

Note that the co-ordinates take you to the visitor centre. The campground is another 30m on windy paved roads, and 12m on gravel roads.....but the journey is worth it. Not only the many stop off points along the way, but the campground is large and spacious, with a single vault toilet at each end - which are very clean, and many garbage cans. Some of the picnic tables have a sun shade over them. Prairie dogs and bison are right in the campsite with you. Saw large wild turkeys and a coyote as well. Would recommend staying at least 2 days, to enjoy.

Site20
Month of VisitJune
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Gregory , May 10, 2023
aThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2022

Nice campground

It’s a holiday weekend and I got here at 7pm. All the spots were filled, but many people still camped and shared spots for tents if asked. That’s what happened for me and it worked out.

As far as wildlife, there are a ton of buffalo around and will sometimes get uncomfortably close. Overall, definitely recommend.

Month of VisitOctober
Nicole C.
Reviewed Aug. 22, 2022

Prairie Dog Party

This campground is not just amazing because it's free, although that certainly helps. This campsite is one of the most unique places I've stayed. Wildlife sightings are abundant. We stayed just one night but loved the trails leading up to wonderful sunrise/sunset viewing vantage points. During our stay we were entertained by dozens and dozens of prairie dogs that are active throughout the camp ground. We were also excited when bison appeared out of nowhere and began grazing in the camp. The view of the stars at night is also beyond mesmerizing. Can't wait to visit again.

Site20
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Nicole C., August 22, 2022
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Nicole C., August 22, 2022
Becbecandbunny O.
Reviewed Jul. 21, 2022

Great site within park

This FF campground exceeded our expectations. Easy access to the park. You're surrounded by beauty with the likelihood of a bison sighting or two (we had a herd walk through the campground twice). Most sites have ramadas to provide shade. Pit toliet bathrooms were well maintained. No water available. No cell coverage.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Becbecandbunny O., July 21, 2022
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Becbecandbunny O., July 21, 2022
Katrina R.
Reviewed Jul. 18, 2022

Blessed

Different kind of camping but being beneath the stars in the badlands was great!

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Katrina R., July 18, 2022
R
Reviewed Jul. 14, 2022

Absolutely gorgeous

Decided to spur of the moment camp in our car in this lot, while the car is uncomfortable this camp ground is just so pretty with wildlife all around.

Site25
Month of VisitAugust
A
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2022

pretty basic landing place

Really can’t complain about free camping, but this campground is just a small circle. Cars park on the outside, tents in the middle. Bison roam around, which adds a certain excitement. 12 miles of gravel road to get there. Vault toilets. Shaded Picnic tables. Beautiful views. The circle shape is the main bummer bc it affords zero privacy. Sun is brutal most of the day, and we encountered a rainstorm that collapsed half the tents and sent many people packing. I would probably go back, but only as a free spot I’m familiar with.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Alanna , July 12, 2022
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SThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 8, 2022

Smoke dirt circle

Right for some, but not for us. It is free…awesome. We did a drive through and decided “no”. Nice chamber toilets…perk, but it felt cramped to us. We went to Buffalo Gap dispersed camping.

Sitedrive through…did not stay
Month of VisitAugust
f
Reviewed Jun. 29, 2022

Not the right address!!!

25216 Ben Reifel Rd is NOT the address!!! That is an employee RV campground! Do not camp there, you will be fined $200.

Month of VisitJuly
JThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jun. 14, 2022

Remote

Campground is 12 miles down a maintained dirt road inside the National park. Vault toilets, very clean. Picnic tables. It’s one big circle with 20+ campsites. Breezy, but in a shallow valley.
Many prairie dogs and Buffalo. Stayed two nights.

Site2
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by James , June 14, 2022
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by James , June 14, 2022
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by James , June 14, 2022
  • (8) View All
B
Reviewed Jun. 5, 2022

Badlands Trip Day 1

Not very full, quiet, decent bathrooms, good access to trails, lots of wildlife jut keep a close lookout for bison, they are everywhere and get VERY close

Site4
Month of VisitJuly
CThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jun. 1, 2022

Bison aplenty

The road getting to camp was 12 miles of washboards. We stayed for 2 nights. First night stayed in the rv area. Was very nice. We were one of two vehicles in the area. The second night we stayed in the loop due to rain. The rv area turning into a mud pit with a good soaking so be careful. Both days had the loop pretty packed by 5 pm. There was space available still both days. Had bison walking right under our roof top tent. And prairie dogs yelling at us. Great time was had by all. We stayed may 29-30

Sitepost 1 in loop and first rv site.
Month of VisitJune
  • Play button icon
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Chad F., June 1, 2022
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Chad F., June 1, 2022
  • (4) View All
Trevor B.
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2021

Quiet spot in the winter!

There was absolutely nobody else there the night I stayed. They have vault toilets, and tables which is a nice touch for a free campground.

Site4
Month of VisitJanuary
Blake V.
Reviewed Nov. 18, 2021

Off the beaten path

Quiet spot that we had to ourselves in mid November. Room for maybe 30 but more than 12 or so would feel cramped. It was quite cold and very windy. The BEST vault toilet I have ever used! Only 4 stars because inside the loop, and outside in the surrounding area is inundated with prairie dog mounds, which is fine, but we had dogs that are supposed to be on leash as we are still in the national park here (I think) which made for interesting potty times

Siteunknown
Month of VisitDecember
  • Review photo of Sage Creek Campground by Blake V., November 18, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Sage Creek Campground have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Sage Creek Campground does not have wifi.