RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Unknown
No Drinking Water
About Pactola Reservoir Campground

This campground is nestled in forested area along the south shore of Pactola Reservoir, offering guests lake views and access to a multitude of recreational opportunities both on land and water.

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.

Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills, boasting 14 miles of shoreline and 150 foot depths on 800 acres. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam and water.

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.


Black Hills National Forest offers recreational opportunities for all ages. Visitors can take advantage of opportunities for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on moderate terrain.

From Pactola Reservoir, hikers can access the 2.2-mile Osprey Trail which includes two loop trails and a spur trail to an overlook. The trail is named for the ospreys that are often seen in the area.

Pactola Reservoir is an ideal spot for fishing and boating. The reservoir is stocked with rainbow, lake and brown trout as well as largemouth and rock bass, kokanee salmon and yellow perch. Record lake trout are caught here annually, and large brown trout find habitat in Rapid Creek above and below the reservoir.


Pactola Reservoir Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, including several tent-only sites. Several sites have views of the reservoir.

The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available.

Access to the reservoir and beach is within walking distance, and 2 boat ramps are available on-site. A full service marina is nearby, offering seasonal, monthly and daily slips, fuel, oil, groceries, food service, showers and laundry facilities.

A National Forest visitor center on the south side of the dam is open seasonally and provides visitors with information about the building of the dam and forest management.

Nearby Attractions:

Nearby Jewel Cave 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.

Other possible day trips include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument, Devils Tower National Monument and Wind Cave National Park.



Boating: Marina


Wildlife Viewing

Swimming Site

National Forest
Drive In
Walk In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
No Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Picnic Table
No Sanitary Dump
No Showers
Trash Available
No Water Hookups
Pactola Reservoir Campground is located in South Dakota
44.0753 N
-103.5331 W
Get Directions
Drive 17 miles west on State Highway 44 from Rapid City, South Dakota. FromHighway 44, turn on 385 south. Campground located 2 miles off US Highway385.
14 Reviews of Pactola Reservoir Campground
Beautiful Campground with Great Views

This campground is unbelievable beautiful. The whole camp is along the lake and offers amazing views of the Pactola Reservoir. Each campsite had a fire pit and a picnic table. There's enough room on one site to put 2 or 3 tents and feel completely comfortable. If you're interested in hammock camping the trees are plentiful in perfectly spaced. The picture I took was just as the sun was going down and I don't believe I have camped in a more breathtaking spot.

Amazing lake views

Huge campsites with views of the lake. Some of the biggest camp sites on our trip. Some had more privacy than others. Both RV and tent sites.

Picnic tables, camp fire pits. Drinking water. Close to the Jewel and Wind Caves and Mr. Rushmore. About 50 sites total, with the best being on the lake side.

Vault toilets only where we were, though other parts had flush toilets.

Nice day use area with access to the lake. Boat ramps. Very popular with locals. A bit off the freeway, so no noise at night. Sites can be booked up to six months in advance, or sometimes grabbed at the last minute if lucky.

Beautiful lake area

Great campground with a beautiful view of Pactola Lake. We only got to stay for one night but we are going back this summer. The camp hosts were very nice and accommodating! I thought the camping pads were a little close to each other but other than that it wasn’t to bad. There was a store close to the camping area that had everything you could want including boats and paddle board rentals!


prob the most prettest campground aroumd

No crowd

This was a great place! No electricity or running water but well worth it. We had a spot just above the lake and plenty of room to do whatever we wanted!

Beautiful and serene

Gracious camp hosts, nice level grounds for tents, plenty of firewood for sake and the most beautiful views anywhere. My husband and I spent a quiet weekend, relaxing, shore fishing and spending quality time together. Perfect! The onoy thing that would make it better are shower houses

Tent sites right off the water

The tent sites are gorgeous! You may have to move some pinecones, needles, and large sticks, but the grass is quite soft. Bathrooms is clean, but there is only one.

First to Review
Beautiful campsites

This is a national forest campground. Vault toilets were very clean and didn’t smell. There are pay laundry machines and showers at the marina store nearby. Also they rent boats and paddle boards. The marina and campground hosts have wood for sale. There is a drive through trash area with several big barrels for trash and recyclables. There is a specified swimming beach, however we were turned off due to all the geese poop! We waded and swam in the water near our campsite. The campground sites are adequately spaced so you don’t feel crowded. There are no tent pads. Most sites can accommodate several tents. Overall a great camping experience if you don’t need the luxury of electricity and sewer hookups!

Stunning view

Primitive campground tucked into the hillside overlooking Pactola Lake. Well maintained and for a fantastic price. Can’t wait to go back.

A hidden beauty

We loved this place. The group site had room for all and private restrooms. We had a wonderful view of the lake making watching the sun rise breathtaking.