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okay everyone 8 days till we leave for south dakota have reservations at custers gulch.
hopefully all the sturgis crowd will be gone or ready to leave. any suggestions out there
for sites or other camping in the area? would like feedback on deadwood.
We spent about 2 weeks in that area in Sept. of '08. It was wonderful. We only stayed at 2 campgrounds—first at Rafter J and then we moved up to Elkhorn Ridge in Spearfish. They were very different from each other; Rafter J is much more rustic with lots of trees while Elkhorn Ridge is wide open with cement pads and grass between sites. But we liked both of them equally well.

When you said you wanted feedback on Deadwood, I am not sure if you meant campgrounds or attractions. Since we did not actually stay there I'll go the attraction route. It is a quaint, somewhat touristy, little town with lots of casinos for its size. Most attractions center around Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. You can go to the cemetery and see their graves; just know that this is located on a very big hill, and it is quite a hike to the top, but don't let that scare you. I made it. They also have a reenactment of how Wild Bill was shot in one of the saloons. I think it was free (at least back then).

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is near Deadwood and is an interesting drive (some of Dances With Wolves was filmed there), and for a good day trip go to Devil's Tower, just across the border into Wyoming. The Badlands NP is another good day trip toward the east. Be sure to stop at the Wall Drug store in Wall. That is an amazing place. You can spend hours there.

It goes without saying that when you are at Custer’s Gulch, you will want to see Mt Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Custer State Park is a great place to see buffalo, and there is a spectacular scenic drive in that area also. I think it is called the Peter Norbeck Scenic Highway. It is the one with all the spires, and rock formations, and holes in rocks that you can drive a car through. However, this is not a drive for larger vehicles.

Wow, telling about all this sure brought back memories. I'm ready to go again. And by the way, the Sturgis crowd had not completely cleared out in mid Sept., but there was absolutely no problem with that. So enjoy your time there.
Bear Butte is neat, and cheap if you want to dry camp a day or two.


QUOTE(witherig @ Aug 2 2011, 10:09 AM) *

okay everyone 8 days till we leave for south dakota have reservations at custers gulch.
hopefully all the sturgis crowd will be gone or ready to leave. any suggestions out there
for sites or other camping in the area? would like feedback on deadwood.

I'll second the recommendation for Rafter J Bar in Hill City. It had everything we wanted and favorite park in 2010.
Jerry S
For starters, I'll cover the RV parks in Deadwood. Whisler's Gulch and the KOA are both about a mile outside the town. Both are walkable distances to town but uphill on the way back to the RV park. KOA has their own pay shuttle and Whisler's is on the town trolley route if you can't walk or don't want the hassle of walking. Both parks are full service parks (including a pool) - see their listing on this site for details and reviews.

As for sights to see, Texasrvers covered the highlights and any Black Hills guidebook or website will covers these and more. In addition to those previously mentioned, there are Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument in the southern section of the area. If you plan to see either or both of these caves, you may want to call ahead to get cave tour reservations. In early August last year the tour were sold out first thing in the morning. There are also numerous "schlocky" tourist trap type of "attractions" in the area. I thought the road in Custer SP that TX was talking about was Needles Highway. I second the advice that you visit Custer SP in your car - RVs are not allowed on some of the best roads in the park. The Badlands are a don't miss, but I would do them and Wall as a stopover rather than a day trip from the Black Hills. Wall has several adequte RV parks. There is also a very nice KOA near Interior at the east end of the park. You may also want to make Deveil's Tower a stopover trip. There is an expensive, but adequate, KOA just outside the park entrance. Depending on where you are staying in the Black Hills. it can be a 2-3 hour drive to the Tower.

Have a great trip.
I agree with everything Jerry said, but let me clarify a point. It is absolutely true that the Needles Highway is the one with all the neat rock formations. However, I think it is a part of the larger Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. The whole drive is worthwhile, but the Needles Highway was definitely the most interesting, and thanks Jerry, for mentioning the name. If you can't do the whole byway, definitely don't miss the Needles Highway part.

Also, Jerry is correct in saying that Devils tower and Badlands NP can be a 2-3 hour drive depending on where you are staying and that there are RV parks close to these two places. However, for us a day trip means going to any attraction that is within about an hour and a half from where the MH is parked. If our trip route takes us in the direction of the attraction, then we would probably go in the MH and stay near the attraction. If not, we usually take the car. In our case, we went to Devils Tower when we stayed in Spearfish, and it was about an hour away. We went to the Badlands and Wall Drug when we were in Hill City. Wall was about an hour away with the Badlands being about 30 more miles. Had these places been on our route I'm sure we would have stayed at them, and you should, too. I think it would be absolutely awesome to stay at Devils Tower. That is such a unique place.

There is so much to do in this area, so I hope you have time to stay awhile.


Gee guys, reading all of the reviews of South Dakota makes me want to hitch up the rig and head on out ASAP! In all seriousness though, the DW and I have been talking about doing SD from our Western New York area and the suggestions in these posts will be printed and put in the "TO GO TO" file as reference points. Oh yeah, Lindsay, I think that hump on your wife's back was you! laugh.gif only kidding of course
Florida Native
That hump wasn't me, but I did notice I started to get hair on my back. I was hoping for horny.
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