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JKClay 02-15-2010 12:39 PM

Headed to Mount Rushmore/Black Hills lookin to camp out
I am going to be taking my family up to Mount Rushmore at the end of May would like to camp out and go wheelin'. I have never been to SD and don't know much about where to camp. I would like to find a quiet camp site that's not very crowded but not too far off the beaten path. I am gonna have my wife and 2 boys with me. It will be their first time on a serious campout.

Here's where I need help. Where have some you camped before near Mt. Rushmore? And where are some good mild trails to chase? I have a 09 JK with 3" lift and 34's. The jeep can handle a lot but we would need to drive it home to Oklahoma at the end of the trip.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

JKClay 02-17-2010 10:53 AM

Any help would be appreciated.

Mighty Thor 02-25-2010 03:05 PM

We towed the YJ through there some years ago and stayed at a RV park not to far from the Monument. Don't remember the Name, but it was associated or right next to a place called Old Macdonald's farm and just up the road from the Reptile Gardens and the live bear park. It was a good camp site and We found it very convenient to drive to all of the various attractions in the area. It was a great vacation that we still talk about. You will have a great time.:2thumbsup:

B5B6D2TJ 03-01-2010 10:23 PM

I am in a similar boat, but might offer some help. I lived in Rapid City through 6th grade and have been back several times, but never in an off-road rig... mostly passing through from my home in Salt Lake to my dad's house near Sioux Falls.

I am planning on spending Labor Day weekend there... I am reviewing maps and cabins as we "speak." I think the Hill City area is very nice; I know there are campgrounds all around there, Keystone (great little "tourist town") and Custer (actual small town, not as "touristy").

I recall, as a young cub-scout, many, MANY easy to moderate hiking trails. I am trying to find a good recreation map (like we have for Utah) to find the 4-wheel-drive trails... no results yet, but I know the area is well mapped... just have to find the map.

Reptile Gardens is between Rushmore and Rapid City... the city is growing in that direction (south); you might be on the outskirts of town in that area.

One other note... it might be worth spending a few hours in the "badlands" east of Rapid City. I am WILD-GUESSING, here, but that area might have some good rock crawling!

JKClay 03-01-2010 10:32 PM

Thanks for the input. I have been looking for some maps as well...with very little luck. I have found a number of hocking trail maps and maps for 4-wheelers bit nothing for jeeps! I hear chasing some of the old mine roads you can find some decent trails and ghost towns. Sounds like an easy way to get lost in the middle of nowhere! Post a link if you find some good maps or just pm me...thanks!

B5B6D2TJ 03-01-2010 10:59 PM

The whole area is fairly small and very well travelled... not like southern Utah where you can die before anyone knows you are lost. From (old) memory you are probably never more than 20 miles (or so) from a well-traveled trail (and help).

i will post up if I find a good map.

Your rig should let you have some serious fun... hopefully we will see some local posts to give us some better insight.

be safe!

B5B6D2TJ 03-02-2010 09:52 AM

Here's another thread with some good info and links...

RYANSTULC 04-02-2010 07:35 PM

Check us out @

You'll get more detailed answers @ the linked site.

JKClay 04-05-2010 09:58 AM

Thanks for the links! They are both helpful...

JKClay 04-14-2010 11:22 AM

Okay, I got my camp site reserved down in Custer State Park. I am having a hard time finding any info on where to wheel! Is there any maps or info out there? I saw on one of the links above the names and ratings of some trails, but no locations, maps etc. I would like to chase some of the old gold mine/ghost town trails too...any info on these would be helpful.

redshirtsniper 05-19-2010 12:36 AM

dalton lake is nortyh a bit, but it wont be touristy at all. mostly locals. Elk creek comes out of it and is some good trout fishin. Walk bike trail along crrek is alotta fun. the road abouve the trail can get pretty hairy if you go back far enough,most of the secondary forest service roads can be aloota fun if you go back far enough.get away from custer hill city and deadwood. tourist city. Most of the "camping" grounds around rushmore,keystone and custer are just big parking lots. If you need more in fo message me.!

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