$26 - $28 / night

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Established Camping

Horsethief Lake Campground

28 Reviews


USDA Forest Service

Black Hills National Forest


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.


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.


Horsethief Lake Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs. There are several tent-only and walk-to tent-only sites. The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available. Roads in the campground are paved.

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.


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.

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

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  • Verizon
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  • T-Mobile

Site Types

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


For Campers

  • Market
  • Trash
  • Firewood Available
  • Drinking Water
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol
  • Pets
  • Fires

For Vehicles

  • Sanitary Dump
  • Big Rig Friendly

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28 Reviews

Jack M.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2023

Peaceful location

I stayed here for 2 nights. The attendant was very friendly and helpful. He gave me a last minute booking which was very nice of him. And it was the most awesome spot to me in the whole camp!!! By all means do come and visit here. 8 miles from crazy horse memorial and just a little bit up from Mount Rushmore!!!

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Jack M., July 11, 2023
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Jack M., July 11, 2023
Casey L.
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2022

Close to Mount Rushmore

We used this as a base camp for exploring the Black Hills. Our experience was mostly good. Our site was closer to our neighbor than we were expecting. The person next to us the first night had their dogs loose wandering and radio playing which was a little annoying. The picture also showed it being better views of the lake. But not a big deal because there were stairs down to the water (just had to make sure long pants for the poison ivy.) There was only a single toilet for our whole section, usually they have the mens and womens side. The hosts were also pretty unpleasant when we talked to them. We had an online reservation and came after 8 pm, which there was a sign that said if you come after 8 pm, just stop back and pay for your site in the morning. Well we had already paid so we were thinking that sign didn’t apply to us, plus we left to start exploring super early before they were open. We’ve stayed at countless FS campgrounds and not interacted with the hosts at all with no issue. We got there the 2nd night right at 8, so the little booth was closed. We slowed down a lot to make sure and then kept going and the guy walked up to us from the camper and acted like we were morons and said that we needed to fill out paperwork. My poor sweet husband was as nice as can be and the guy was still a jerk so that wasn’t a nice way to spend our last night there. Oh well. The campground itself is pretty, lots of shade and sites level & in good condition. I’d return, just to a different site.

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Casey L., August 20, 2022
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Casey L., August 20, 2022
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Casey L., August 20, 2022
  • (6) View All
Reviewed Jun. 26, 2021

Horse Thief lake

Close to Mt Rushmore on a little reservoir. Mix of RV and hike in camp sites nestled in the forest. Fresh water available with bathrooms nearby. We had a nice site overlooking the lake.

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Don F., June 26, 2021
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Don F., June 26, 2021
  • Review photo of Horsethief Lake Campground by Don F., June 26, 2021


Horsethief Lake Campground is located in South Dakota

Detail location of campground


From Hill City, take U.S. Rt. 16/385 south 3 miles to State Rt. 244. Turn left onto Rt. 244. Travel 5.9 miles to campground sign. Turn right at sign into campground.


43.8951028 N
103.4842333 W

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