Lora C.
Cambridge, IL
Joined June 2017
Such a cool place

This campground on the edge of Badlands National Park is totally in the middle of nowhere, and it takes quite a drive down gravel roads to get there. The roads are well-tended, but they still keep the large RV's out. This is an unusual campground. It is free camping, since it's totally primitive. It's basically a circle drive around an open space, and you just put your tent wherever you want to put it. The whole inner circle is level and well-tended. There are also horse corrals available on one side, and the smaller RV's and trailers pretty much gather there. There are a few covered picnic tables within the circle, and there are pit toilets on each end. The NPS website says that this place rarely fills to capacity, and that's because you just fill in an empty space. We were expecting total solitude, but there were quite a few people. There were vehicles parked around the whole circle, and there were probably 30-40 tents set up, but the space is so large that it didn't feel too cramped or close. The campground is so far from everything that it gets perfectly dark; it's wonderful for stargazing. We watched the moon come up over the hills, and it would have been perfect Milky Way viewing, but as one other camper said, "the full moon [was] shitting on it." We woke up in the morning to a couple of bison roaming through the campground grazing on the grass and wildflowers.

Beautiful, but buggy

This campground is at the end of a winding six-mile dirt road, which means that you'll be covered in dust by the time you get there, but which also means that there are no big RV rigs. It is so quiet and beautiful, but the mosquitos will about drive you nuts, and they're the reason I can't give this campground five stars. Bring bug spray (but not citronella; that attracts bears). The lake is simply stunning, especially in the early morning, when the sun comes up over the mountains. There are trailheads right next to the lake shore, with varying distances and difficulties to choose from. The campsites are clean and level, but watch out for stumps along the driveways, or you may lose a bumper. Restroom facilities are only pit toilets, but they're the cleanest and least-smelly pit toilets I've ever seen, and there is plenty of hand sanitizer inside. Potable water taps and food storage boxes are available near the toilets. We didn't see any bears, but deer frequent the campsites, sniffing around the fire pits, searching for food, and they're not scared of people. They'll come right up to your tent. It's crazy.

Perfect

This campground is beautiful. It's quiet and shaded, and deer pass through the sites in the morning and evening; chipmunks skitter around all day. The bathrooms are cleaned daily and are very nice. It's very quiet and down a rough road, so there aren't many RV's. There are potable water taps and bear-proof food storage boxes scattered throughout; you don't have to go far for anything. Bring a rake. There are pinecones everywhere, and you'll want to clear them out before you set up your tent. We were there before the "season" was in full swing, so the showers and camp store weren't open yet. There are a couple of trail heads right there, and Redrock Falls (accessible through those trail heads) is a MUST see. As mentioned before, the road to this campground is really rough, but it is so worth it. Along that road, we saw a moose, four bears, and a wolf. We loved this campground.