Public Campgrounds in Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Conditions and Updates

Updated 2017

This page includes known conditions across the Black Hills region including closures, openings, and events that may impact campgrounds and other outdoor recreation. It also includes updates to the guidebook.

Off-Season Update

Many campgrounds in the Black Hills remain open in some capacity during the off-season for hunting, snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing, but most (if not all) will fully open Memorial Day week. Check out the book for seasonal information for each camp.

Custer State Park Visitor CenterNew Custer State Park Visitor Center/Game Lodge Group Camp Closure

The Game Lodge Group camping area on the east side of Custer State Park was removed and replaced with a new and impressive visitor center in 2016. Located at the intersection of HWY 16A and Wildlife Loop Road, the staffed center features interactive exhibits and a theater where a terrific park video is played twice an hour. There is also a scenic picnic area just east of the center. This new park feature is worth checking out!

Old and New Ponderosa Pines

While fire and bark beetles have killed countless trees in the Black Hills, some areas of the forest are being restored. In spring 2015, nearly 150,000 ponderosa pine seedlings were planted in the old Jasper fire area near Jewel Cave National Monument - the project yielded almost 15,000 new trees per day! In other parts of the region, you may find crews thinning stands to help improve forest health.

Wrinkled Rock Climbing Trailhead Expansion

The Wrinkled Rock trailhead and bivy camp on the west side of Mount Rushmore has a dozen more parking spaces thanks to an expansion completed in 2013. Intrepretive signs were also added to the surrounding trails.Comanche Campground

Thinning at Comanche Park Campground

The forest at this campground was thinned to help prevent the spread of the pine beetle. It's a little more sunny than it used to be, but there are still plenty of ponderosa pines at this charming camp.

Reconfiguration of Legion Lake Campground (Custer State Park)

As described in the book, Legion Lake used to have a single loop around a long grassy park that filled with tent campers. This has changed. The grass is now gone and a single road provides access to an assortment of paved spurs (with electric hookups) that are better suited for trailers and RVs. Here's a new picture of the camp.Legion Lake Campground

Take note that the Centennial Trail is now located behind the last two campsites. This is where the old trailhead used to be. You won't find signs for the Centennial Trail, but you will for the Legion Lake Trail, which also begins from this end of the camp.

Wildfire information for this summer

Dry weather brings widlfires - this website will show any active fires that you need to know about: South Dakota Wildfires



Black Hills Weather and Climate

Forecasts

Northern Black Hills
Southern Black Hills
Wyoming Black Hills

Precipitation

Wettest months: May, June
Northern Black Hills: 30 inches per year
Southern Black Hills: 15 inches per year

Summertime Temperatures

Highs: 70-90F degrees
Lows: 50-60F degrees

Black Hills Elevations

Low Point: 3,000 feet (Belle Fourche, SD)
High Point: 7,242 feet (Harney Peak)

Seasonal and Annual Information

The summer season runs from Memorial Day weekend (late May) through Labor Day weekend (early September). Some camps close after Labor Day, but many remain open all year in limited capacity. Two large events to note include the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held the first full week of August and the Custer Buffalo Roundup in late September.