Loved Custer State Park and camping was great. Quiet campground plenty of space between sites and the amenities were in good condition. Loved all the drives through the park, up Needles highway or up thru the south end of the Park from Wind Cave.
The Stockade Lake North Campground is located just inside the west entrance to Custer State Park in Custer, South Dakota. This prime camping location is 15 minutes from Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, and just minutes from historic Custer, the Gordon Stockade, and a scenic jaunt to the State Park Wildlife Loop.
The sites at this campground are reservation-only, even on same-day arrival. In order to secure a campground, campers need to call the reservation number. However, once the reservation is made, campers can proceed to their campsite without having to worry about checking in with on-site staff, and no hassle with hanging a tag on the campsite post.
The campground is open for camping from the beginning of May to late September, weather permitting. There are 42 campsites available, many with electricity and several pull-through sites, but no full hook-ups. There are both vault and flush toilets, a shower house, and drinking water available. There is also a nice little playground in the center of the campground and an adjoining amphitheater where they may show informational films in the summer. Campsites here are well-spread among the trees, offering relative privacy and quiet space, with enough room to hang a hammock or two!
The campground is just a quick walk up from Stockade Lake, where you can fish, swim, put your boat in, view wildlife, and enjoy the small beach and playground. Across the small highway is Bismark Lake, in Black Hills National Forest, which is stocked for fishing, and provided us with a delicious fried trout meal our second night! There is also a pair of osprey that are seen frequently between the two lakes, and are a joy to watch as they fish and soar over the lakes.
We stayed on opening weekend in our small RV with electric on site 32E, and the campground was relatively empty. Our site was a bit unlevel, but very scenic and shady. Only one other site was close to ours, and luckily, no one was in it over that weekend. Sites are all gravel, and each one has an aluminum picnic table and fire ring. Most of the sites appear wide enough to accommodate slide-outs on RV units. Although there are long sites available, we did watch two large rigs struggle to back in their vehicles due to the narrow, curved campground roads. When viewing the reservation map, those sites that appear distanced from others truly are - try to reserve those if you can. Another pro tip: If you need to buy firewood, there is a Lutheran church just west of the state park entrance that offers wood for a donation, and supports their youth programs.
SInce it was the beginning of the camping season, the vault toilets were exceptionally clean and smelled great. We did not use the showers, but they looked to be in great shape.The drinking water was easy to find, and there is even a place to fill the RV tank before heading to your site.
For a video summary of our campground and the backpack, see our YouTube video: https://youtu.be/pElJjB1t4XA.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, we get products to test from time to time, and since we knew we would be out all day fishing and hiking, we took along the Renogy Solar Backpack (https://www.renogy.com/renogy-solar-backpack). We wanted to be able to keep our electronic devices such as our cameras and phones charged throughout our weekend adventures! This backpack is exciting! It sports a 5.6-watt solar panel and you can connect any usb device with its 5V charging port (maximum 1.2A output).
The weather all weekend was partly cloudy with isolated showers, and yet the backpack was able to charge a battery bank for our electronics 3/4 of the way in about three hours. We believe that if the sun had been out constant all afternoon, we would have easily charged bank one full and a second bank at least half way.
Other highlights of this backpack include the nicely padded strap-side that rests against your back, a slot on the left strap for sunglasses, an expandable water bottle (or other small gear) pocket, and plenty of space inside for jackets and other layers that were shed throughout the day as it got warmer. Thanks to a plethora of inside and outside pockets, we carried water bottles, battery banks, two phones, a tablet, headphones, snacks, a sweatshirt, and a jacket all at the same time with ease and comfort. A smaller laptop would also fit nicely inside the main compartment.
This backpack can be used without the solar panels exposed, with a quick zipper flip-around, and it looks great! IAt only 2.2 lbs, it also carries the inside pack weight very comfortably for a range of sizes, from a 6’ 4” father to 5-foot, 11-year-old son. Both mentioned that they felt the backpack was a nice way to carry their gear for a day of hiking and fishing.
My father, daughter (8yo), and myself stayed at Stockade North campgrounds Saturday night through Wednesday morning. We had an overall positive experience. Rangers and host were very friendly and very helpful. I did not use the vaulted toilets but my father said they weren't too terrible. The shower house was nice and clean, free, warm showers. Downfalls-- I felt like this camp ground was geared more towards RVs than tent camping. I picked our site online, it had a picture that made it look very appealing, however it did not accurately portray the topography of the site. Therefore we had one tent on fairly even ground the other, not at all. The neighbors seemed pretty close by and the trees were too young to provide much cover.
This place was filled with kids and was really fun associating with them . Y=there are ranger programs and the sites are the one of the best. The rangers were really friendly and the night wasn't too cold. The sites are a little difficult to get because this is a pretty popular place to camp. There are a lot of animals and you can pet them.