Standard (tent/RV)
Tent Sites
No Fires
No Pets
No Drinking Water
About Sage Creek
National Park Service
Drive In
Walk In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
No Drinking Water
No Electric Hookups
No Fires
No Firewood Available
No Market
No Pets
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Not Reservable
No Sanitary Dump
No Sewer Hookups
No Showers
Trash Available
No Water Hookups
No WiFi
Sage Creek is located in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
43.8941 N
-102.4139 W
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34 Reviews of Sage Creek
Where the bison roam

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.

Great jumping off point for hiking the Western badlands

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.

Mid October

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 and open campground surrounded by Badlands Landscape

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!

Best kept secret

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.

Beautiful and Primative

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.


Not much to this place. Two pit toilets, picnic tables, and trash service. we had some rainy weather and part of the campground was muddy but it held back the crowds. Prarie Dogs and Bison are right in camp along with the idiots who get way to close to the wild animals! A great find though and easy to access.

primitive, open, remote, quiet, wild, scenic - a good road trip stop

I visited Sage Creek for one night in August 2017 during a solo cross country road trip. Though a very bare bones place to camp, it was one of my favorite overnight spots that month..

The only facilities are a couple pit toilets and picnic table shelters. No water. The campground is really one large circle, and it fills up with people. There isn't really an option for privacy.

However! It is a free place to camp and it is surrounded by hills and therefore sheltered by wind and morning / evening sun, and it is perfect if all you need is a place to sleep. A lot of folks passing through are also on long road trips, so you can chat and meet cool people on their own adventures. The sunset and sunrise were incredible, and at night you can hear coyotes howl and see the milky way. Bison and coyotes come through the campground on occasion. Despite being full of people, it felt quiet and peaceful and wild enough to have a taste of the landscape's true character. A bison grazed behind my tent all night and I slept incredibly sound.

I write when I travel, and as I watched the sunset from a hill above the campground I jotted down a poem:

Early August in the Badlands

The wind slides away today’s arid heat, swept

as if with a broom over the hills and horizon

following the sun’s trailing colors. The few trees and

grasses here sigh, relieved of harsh


rays, but now deprived of productive light. The birds -

swallows, hawks -

make final swoops before giving way the sky to bats’ delight

of insects and nighttime desert flowers.

The moon shakes her shawl of clouds and dusty haze;

Brighter. Gleaming silver underwater. Twilight

is her shining moment before the first stars


behind her brief solo and eventually blanket the above

in a sparkling quilt. The crickets rejoice, as do the coyotes –

Now is their time to Sing and to Dance and to Thank

the moon and then roam, playfully, over the prairie.

Sage Creek Campground May 15-17

Sage Creek is a primitive campground located in the interior of The Badlands National Park. The campsites are first come first serve and are free to use. However there are only two pit toilets for the entire camp and no water is available so bring your own is a must. Buffalo continually frequent the campground so storing food away a night is a must. There are also limited trails in the badlands but sage creek campground is a great starting point for backcountry trips but following sage creek into the interior.

Remote and free

At the far western edge of Badlands NP sits this FREE (what?!, IKR) campground. No real sites, just a big flat open space with a small building that houses the toilets. No fires or water source either. Signs of wildlife everywhere so definitely watch your step, especially at night. Was very crowded the one night I spent there, but most everyone was quiet and respectful of each other's space. Beautiful views at sunset and sunrise.