Public Campgrounds in Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Area Tour: Information and gallery

Maybe the forested island on the plains known as the Black Hills is a vacation destination for you. Maybe it's just a stopover on a longer trip. Either way, once you've been to the Black Hills, you'll probably realize that you need more time here and will start anticipating your return.

Things to do

The Black Hills truly has something for everyone. With several national parks, national monuments, and state parks, outdoor recreation is an obvious pasttime; the region is packed with wildlife, scenic drives, hiking and biking trails, fishing lakes, large reservoirs for boating, world-class rock climbing, campgrounds, picnic sites, and hundreds of miles of motorized backcountry roads and trails. But that's only one aspect. There are also festivals, rallies, charming towns, authentic shops and resturants, casinos, and commercially-run tourist attractions that are quite impressive. Here's a good place to learn more: Travel South Dakota.

Where to stay

Things to do in the Black Hills are as plentiful as places to stay. You can choose a hotel, a resort, or a shady, creekside campsite with a crackling campfire. Obviously, the hotels and resorts are well-advertised. Privately-owned campgrounds are also easily found on the web - and here's a good link to learn more about those: private campgrounds. Information about public campgrounds is more difficult to find. Some websites list a few while glossy brochures hit a few others. The Forest Service shows 20 or so, but we actually found nearly twice that many on the National Forest and by the time we were done researching Black Hills Camping, we had details on over 60 public campgrounds in the region.

So if you're looking for the flexibility, affordability, and beauty of a public campground, we've got you covered with this guidebook. We simply love spending the night out under the stars... or on a shoreline... or along a creek bank. But we have to admit that one of the things we like about the Black Hills the most is that after a day exploring, we can head to town for a few slices of pizza or pie. ;)

Where to go

The Black Hills can be separated easily into three main areas: Wyoming's Black Hills and a north and south section in South Dakota. Although the badlands are found further east, we'll cover those too. So click on the images below to take a quick tour of the Black Hills - you'll get a better idea of what each area has to offer and where to focus your next outing. By the way, here are the best overview maps we know of: Black Hills overview maps.

Wyoming's Black Hills

Wyoming's share of the Black Hills is sleepy compared to their eastern neighbor. There is solitude to be found here in the verdant mountains covered in pine and huge aspen stands. The trails here are great for horseback riding and cross-country skiing. The biggest draw, however, is Devil's Tower on the west side of the Black Hills National Forest.

Northern Black Hills - South Dakota

The northern Black Hills feature a diverse forest, where spruce and fir mix with pine and decidious flora. Steep terrain rising from the plains creates exciting driving byways. There are many lakes and reservoirs, as well as hiking trails, bike paths, and ATV trails in this area. The closest towns include Spearfish, Sturgis, Deadwood, and Lead.

Southern Black Hills - South Dakota

With Custer State Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, this is a popular area for good reason. You'll find grassy hills dotted with ponderosa pine, skyscraping rock outcroppings, and massive bison herds. Views are far and wide from the plentiful high points. The closest towns include Custer, Hill City, Rapid City, and Hot Springs.