You have to travel down 12 miles of gravel road in the Badlands to reach this campground but it is so worth it! The campsites are all on the outward edge of a big circular road, pretty close together, but still very quiet and respectful. There is NO COST and there are 2 vault toilet facilities provided. The adorable prairie dogs are everywhere but go to sleep with the sun. During the evening, a wild bison came to the campground edge to graze. The campground filled up by dark, so be sure to get there early for a place to camp. Picnic tables are also provided, some with sun shades.
Very quiet and scenic site. We arrived a little after dark and most of the sites were taken. While this site is “free” they ask you to go to the visitors center to pay the park entrance fee. We could hear the buffalo in the field next to the grounds all night. As well as the coyotes howling and yipping all night. We will certainly come back to this site on our next trip west! Be careful setting up after dark as there are prairie dog holes all around you.
There's a lot of wildlife in Badlands National Park, but we saw the bulk of it right in Sage Creek Campground. This is a totally free campground, which is basically a field surrounding a prairie dog town, with two pit toilets and no water. There is also no shade, but there are a few picnic tables under sun shelters in the campground.
Unfortunately, we didn't score a sun shelter because we arrived late in the day. We did have a tarp that we set up over our picnic table for shade. During our stay in July, we saw several bison in the campground, as well as hawks, meadowlarks, magpies, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and a family of burrowing owls.
There are trails that lead up to the surrounding hills, and plenty of wide-open spaces to explore. If the campground gets busy, it does feel a bit like the grounds of a festival, as there is no privacy and people tend to pitch their tents wherever there is room. Also, it took us about an hour to drive back and forth from the visitor center, and the road is extremely rough, so you have to drive really slow.
We loved Sage Creek Campground - the remoteness, the wildlife, and the amazing sky, and would definitely return! Sites do fill up in the busy summer season, but not until late in the evening.
Nice primitive camp no water. Your basically in a large circle field. All sites are on a first come First serve. ITS FREE! That’s the best part and your officially in the park. Great trails up the hills through flowers
Primitive campground, with no water, no designated sites, no RV hook-ups, and no fee. So bring your own water (you can fill up at the visitor center or in Wall), and enjoy the peaceful open space!
The campground is accessed via Sage Creek Rd, which is a maintained gravel road that can become a little rough after rain. There are a few picnic tables with shades over them, and two pit toilets. Your neighbors will be other solitude seekers, the local bison herd, a killer sunset, more stars in the sky than your mind can handle. The night will be filled with the sounds of coyotes, the wind blowing through the hills of prairie grasses, and the bison chomping their midnight snack. It's a magical place.
I've camped here in more than one season, and had a memorable experience each time.
A primitive campground without drinking water or electricity. Fires are not allowed. There is is space for RVs and horses. It is a national park so check on pet regulations.
The upside, Buffalo can wander through your camp. Or pose in the prairie next to the camp. Great hikes into the park.
Oh, all the things they say about being careful around buffalo, they mean it. I saw a couple who walked too close to a buffalo. Lucky for them the startled animal went away but they were in serious danger.
We spent one night at this site. We were traveling through. First come, first spot. On our night, the coyotes were around camp after dark. And it was very dark outside! We had a pop-up and could hear and feel them going under our slide outs. The tenters that we saw in the morning were in their vehicles. Not sure if it was the coyotes or the freezing rain later in the night.
We plan to come back and spend a few days there to get some hiking in. Beautiful country!
Fun, open style campground. Heard distant coyotes at night, and woke up to bison strolling through in the morning. Make sure you have water, there is none available. If you can snag a spot, camp near one of the covered picnic tables. Amazing stargazing. Best of all, it is free!
This is dispersed campgrounds that's beyond belief. The sites had their own cabana with a picnic table but no trees and no water. There was a vault toilet that was guarded by a field of prairie dogs that cheeped at us like we were invading aliens from outer space, There was also a herd of Bison that came into the camping area and on one occasion I woke up to find one within 5 feet of my tent just munching on grass. I arrived the last week of May but it was still pretty hot, there were a few raining windy nights and I ended up crashing in the car my last night but that didn't take away for the fact that it was wonderful. I stayed for 4 nights and hiked around the park during the day.
Sage Creek is a free and primitive campground in the Badlands National Park. It is absolutely beautiful and surrounded by grassland. The only amenities are vault toilets-there is no water at the site, but you can fill up at the outside faucet at the visitor center before heading down the road to the campsite. There are 12 miles of gravel roads (some great pull offs along this road for pictures) to get to the site, so low clearance vehicles may want to watch out when it rains. The early morning is awesome at this campsite, its quiet, the sun is rising over the hills and sometimes wildlife can be seen munching away.
The bison frequently roam through this site and I urge all campers to stay a safe distance from the bison as they are wild and unpredictable.
The only complaint I really have about this site, is more of a concern. In recent years there has been a problem with over crowding at the site, for example, more people staying than allowed, people driving and camping outside the designated campgrounds, being loud, crowding other campers, etc. While we were there, we saw a truck barrel over a prairie dog town, parents allowing their children to throw things at the prairie dogs or stick things into the animal's dens and an argument over a campsite. I just hope that those who choose to camp here keep the park rules and the leave no trace principles in mind. This is a beautiful place and a joy to visit the quiet grasslands.