8.7 Excellent
http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/south-dakota

Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort

Hill City, South Dakota


12325 Rafter J-Bar Rd
Hill City, South Dakota 57745
Phone: Click to view

Sites: 200
Recent Rate: $$$$

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Latitude: 43.88881
Longitude: -103.59055

Elevation: 5195' (approx.)
Park Features
  • Pull-thru Sites Pull-thru Sites yes
  • Pets Allowed Pets Allowed yes
  • Big Rig Access Big Rig Access yes
  • Tent Camping Tent Camping yes
  • 55+ 55+ no
  • Kid Friendly Kid Friendly yes
  • Boondocking Boondocking no
  • Cabins / Cottages / Yurts Cabins / Cottages / Yurts yes
  • Dump Station Dump Station yes
  • Group Camping Group Camping ?
Hookups
  • Full Hookup Full Hookup yes
  • Electric (50 AMP) Electric (50 AMP) yes
  • Electric (30 AMP) Electric (30 AMP) yes
  • Sewer Sewer yes
  • Water Spigot Water Spigot yes
  • Phone Phone no
  • Water Water yes
  • Cable/Sat. TV Hookup Cable/Sat. TV Hookup yes
Connectivity
  • WiFi WiFi ?
  • ATT Cellular Provider ATT
  • Verizon Cellular Provider Verizon
  • Sprint Cellular Provider Sprint
  • T-Mobile Cellular Provider T-Mobile
Amenities
  • Restrooms Restrooms yes
  • Showers Showers yes
  • Laundry Facilities Laundry Facilities yes
  • Camp Store Camp Store yes
  • Pet Area Pet Area no
  • Propane Available Propane Available yes
  • Cafe / Snack Bar Cafe / Snack Bar yes
  • Clubhouse Clubhouse yes
  • Firewood Available Firewood Available yes
  • Group Kitchen Group Kitchen no
  • Horse Camp Horse Camp no
  • Landing Strip Landing Strip no
  • Picnic Shelter Picnic Shelter no
  • Restrooms: vault Restrooms: vault no
Recreation
  • Pool Access Pool Access yes
  • Playground Playground yes
  • Recreational Trails Recreational Trails yes
  • Rec Room Rec Room yes
  • Casino Casino no
  • Fishing Fishing no
  • Beach Beach no
  • Biking Biking yes
  • Boating Boating no
  • Golf Golf no
  • Gym/Workout Facilities Gym/Workout Facilities no
  • Horseshoes Horseshoes no
  • Mini-Golf Mini-Golf no
  • Outdoor Courts Outdoor Courts yes
  • Pickleball Pickleball ?
  • Water Access Water Access yes

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Review Details

Ratings overview

282 Reviews

These reviews are the opinion of an RVParkReviews' member and not the views of RVParkReviews.com

TAS

Review Count: 9
States Visited: 6
Helpful Reviews: 1

Date of Stay: May, 2018 - $54.00
Overall Rating:

Spacious park with many personalities as there are several areas to camp. Meadow areas, wooded areas, and all are separated by a good distance. Overall it has a wonderful ambience to it and after 5 days there and viewing some others in the area I believe it is the best even given the higher price. You can't beat the location either, as it is nearly at the entrance road to Mt. Rushmore, the Needles Highway and less than 10 miles from Crazyhorse monument. You may request a site but they don't publish their map so if you haven't been there it is difficult to choose. Also one reason I can't give it a 10 is the variability of the sites. Everything else is so nice, I would think they could improve the site pads themselves. We were first assigned a short "supposedy pull thru" site that was a 90 degree turn in, with a 90 degree turn out onto overgrown grass and a camper directly in front of us. We did not pull in due to this. And as the camp was only about half full we asked to have another site. They readily accomodated us, but during high season I am pretty sure that would be difficult. Another reason is the lack of WiFi except up at the office. We were camped at Base Camp, which is the only area that has hook ups for limited satellite cable. We had an open area to the south and had good reception with our Tailgater. There is a nice looking pool and hot tub but neither were up and running when we arrived. Apparently the big season begins Memorial Day. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
base camp 209
Site Surface
Gravel, Dirt
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Long enough for my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Nearby
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

So many things to see and do in the area. The Needles highway, hike around Sylvan lake, the Custer Sate Wildlife loop and Iron Mountan Road should be added to your sightseeing. If you are a biker the Mickelson bike trail goes right by Rafter J and is 109 miles long.

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Review Count: 80
States Visited: 13
Helpful Reviews: 7

Date of Stay: September, 2017 - $55.00
Overall Rating:

We stayed here for 5 nights, as was recommended by a friend. The person at the front desk WAS NOT friendly at all. We had made the reservation in July for our September arrival. They had no note or recollection of our requesting a site to use our satellite. They put us in a treed site where our satellite did not work. They said there were only 2 other sites available and we could go look at them if we want. They were both with lots of trees surrounding them. It was a very rainy day. After getting set up and trying our best to situate ourselves to try and receive a signal, we gave up. About an hour later, a different person from the office knocked on our door to say they had a cancellation and someone was leaving the next day from a clear site and would we like to move. We moved and the rest of our stay was good. It was overpriced, in our opinion. But they charge a little more because they can! Speed bumps are huge! We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
Lower Area
Site Surface
Gravel
Campsite Features
Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp, 50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Nearby
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Hill City is a cute town and has one grocery store. We did a larger grocery run in Custer.

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Review Count: 180
States Visited: 39
Helpful Reviews: 20

Date of Stay: September, 2017 - $52.00
Overall Rating:

Very nice. Wide space between sites. Gravel interior roads in some areas and gravel pads. Paved and wide exit and entrance. Nice office and small cafe with pizza and ice cream, etc. This is a very large park by area and there are three or 4 distinct areas. Try to look on line for their map and decide. Wifi and restrooms are at the main camp. No wifi in other areas. We stayed in the line camp and love the fact you face a very lovely meadow with no one blocking the view. We have stayed here several times before and will stay here again. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Site Number
line camp
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Sunny Open
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

the park is just across the street for the start of finish of one of the best drives in the US--The Needles Highway. This is a must do.

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Review Count: 3
States Visited: 3
Helpful Reviews: 0

Date of Stay: September, 2017 - $55.00
Overall Rating:

We spent two nights at Rafter J's on our way to Spokane, Washington. The campsite was spacious, the restrooms and laundry facilities we're impeccably clean, and the location is close to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park and Needles Highway. We hope to return and spend more time here next year. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Travel Trailer.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Long enough for my travel trailer and tow vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
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Review Count: 5
States Visited: 2
Helpful Reviews: 1

Date of Stay: September, 2017 - $62.00
Overall Rating:

Perfect for visiting Mount Rushmore, the entrance was right near the turn off for the monuments. Big commercial site with family facilities and walking paths. Access to Mickleson trail. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Just long enough for my motorhome
Campsite Features
Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Nearby
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
No
Tips for other Campers:

Helpful staff, small shop. Very open areas.

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Review Count: 34
States Visited: 17
Helpful Reviews: 14

Date of Stay: September, 2017 - $56.00
Overall Rating:

Several of the previous reviews do a great job of describing the park and its amenities and they are all accurate. However, there are a couple of items that need to be mentioned. The park is devided into several areas, some more open, others more treed. We stayed in the "Base Camp" section which is relatively open. The roads and sites in our area were both gravel. The sites and roads can be very close. Some sites are just too tight/close to be practical for larger rigs. Several of the sites were not very level are required some blocking to get rigs level. The roads have lots of erosion and need some maintenance. Otherwise, this is a very nice park in a great area with helpful staff. We would stay here again when in the area. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
220 Base Camp
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp, 50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Very Close
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Ride the 1880s stream train from Hill City to Keystone and see the Borglum museum there. Of course, take in Mt Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument.

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Review Count: 20
States Visited: 9
Helpful Reviews: 4

Date of Stay: August, 2017 - $55.00
Overall Rating:

This is it! If you want to stay in the Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse/Custer State Park area, look no further. This LARGE park has a several distinct camping areas, all very nice, with some sites more closely spaced than others. They have a GIANT open meadow perfect for a family game of ... well, whatever, it's big enough. This place can legitimately call itself a resort. They have a heated pool, NICE rental cabins, central fire in the evening, VERY GOOD pancake breakfast several days of the week and a beautiful facility. The staff is very friendly and helpful. We had to have a couple of documents printed while here. The response, "no charge"! My ONLY negative (and the only reason I didn't give it a "10") would be that in a park this "up scale", I would definitely expect WiFi at the site at a caliber similar to the rest of the excellent facilities and they don't have it. Other than that, this place is a keeper! Beautiful park, nice people, great area to visit; what more can you ask? We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
176
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
20 Amp, 30 Amp, 50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Mt. Rushmore of course. Be sure and see the evening program as well! The Crazy Horse monument is also very worthwhile. Custer State Park, and particularly the Wildlife Loop is a MUST DO!

At Custer State Park; go down the west side of the park (enter at the entrance closest to Hill City) and up the east side and you will be rewarded with some SPECTACULAR views of Mt. Rushmore framed by TWO different one-car-wide tunnels. The road was designed with this in mind and they did a GREAT job! It'll cost you $20.00/car for a 5 day pass to get into the park (2017 prices) but it's well worth it. You'll probably go back more than once.

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Review Count: 35
States Visited: 15
Helpful Reviews: 12

Date of Stay: August, 2017 - $65.00
Overall Rating:

2nd time staying here. There are many choices in the Black Hills but we love the property here. The sites are set up in various areas on this large swath of land. All sites have electric and water with the majority of sites with full hookups (30 or 50 amp). There are cabins available as well. Swimming pool, playground, volleyball court, and enough open grass area to play baseball and football at the same time! We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Fifth Wheel.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
200 Base camp
Site Surface
Gravel, Grass
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Long enough for my 5th wheel and truck (I didn't have to disconnect
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp, 50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
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Review Count: 7
States Visited: 4
Helpful Reviews: 0

Date of Stay: July, 2017 - $60.00
Overall Rating:

Great folks that were working when we were there. The site itself was nice, and rigs were not stacked on top of each other. The facilities were all clean and nice. The grounds were very pretty. Would definitely stay there again. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Travel Trailer.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my travel trailer and tow vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp, 50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Nearby
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
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Review Count: 9
States Visited: 5
Helpful Reviews: 1

Date of Stay: July, 2017 - $61.00
Overall Rating:

This is a very nice campground that has spacious sites compared to others in the area. Within a 20 minute drive to Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park and Custer. We camped in "ranch camp" area. Up on the hill and moderately wooded. Nice big bathroom/shower house with 3 each washers and BIG dryers, I don't remember price, but it was average for a campground. Lots of tall pine trees, some were difficult to get around while hitched.

Staff was ok, somewhat helpful, but not exactly what I would call friendly (I'm from the south so my standards are high). It would have been nice to have someone escort us to site because such a large campground with so many areas. Nice large pool, camp office/store was big and lots of supplies/souvenirs.

As others have said, WiFi was a little spotty, but, not extremely important to me. The pool was a bit of a hike from our site. Would be nice to have a trail from the ranch camp area to the sidewalk that leads to the pool and playground. I agree with others that the price might seem steep, but given the location, and elbow room, I believe it was well worth staying here. I will definitely stay again when we visit the Black Hills. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Travel Trailer.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
Ranch camp 32
Site Surface
Dirt, Grass
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my travel trailer and tow vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

All the attractions in the area are close! Must see Mt. Rushmore lighting ceremony. Only one small Grocery in Hill City, prices there are a bit steep. If you can make it to Custer, about 25 minutes, there are two big grocery stores there.

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Review Count: 11
States Visited: 9
Helpful Reviews: 1

Date of Stay: July, 2017 - $62.00
Overall Rating:

The best asset of Rafter J Bar Ranch Resort is its setting. From the highway a wide, paved driveway takes you up a short hillside through the trees and opens up onto a huge, open meadow with several communities of camping areas around the outer edges of the meadow. Our site was plenty long enough for our motorhome and tow vehicle. Many of the sites are tucked away in the pine trees. Hook-ups were conveniently placed and well-maintained. The price seems a little high, but the camping season in the Black Hills is short, and most of the other campgrounds we saw were packed in tight. Having the George Mickelson trail right out at the front of the campground was the reason we chose to stay here. The ice cream you can buy at the office is very good too. The inside roads to the campsites are gravel and raise a lot of dust. This is one negative about the resort. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
Line Camp
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Sunny Open
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Rafter J Bar is in a great location to do trips to Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Custer, and other attractions.

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Review Count: 36
States Visited: 15
Helpful Reviews: 6

Date of Stay: June, 2017 - $68.00
Overall Rating:

Excellent campground located near Mt Rushmore, Custer, Hill City, etc. Large well appointed sites that had lots of trees and excellent spacing between campers. All utilities worked without any problems, site was a little uneven but workable. We were located at the Island, full utilities but no shower facilities. They were located up the hill a couple of hundred yards away or across from the pool/playground area. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Travel Trailer.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
235
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Long enough for my travel trailer and tow vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
30 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Sun & Foliage
Mostly Shady
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Try Wind Cave, a nice side trip. The Purple Pie Place in Custer is worth the trip. Custer State Park and the Jeep Ride/Chuck Wagon Dinner and also worth the time.

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Review Count: 10
States Visited: 8
Helpful Reviews: 1

Date of Stay: June, 2017 - $62.00
Overall Rating:

I cannot say enough nice things about this park! We stayed 5 days and enjoyed every bit of it! This is a HUGE campground and you have so much space between the sites. I almost felt like we were camping at a state park! Check in was easy, the site was just a little off but was huge and the parking pad was very long! I would definitely stay here again!!! We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Quite a bit longer than my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Spacious
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
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Review Count: 26
States Visited: 4
Helpful Reviews: 5

Date of Stay: June, 2017 - $62.00
Overall Rating:

This a very old RV Park in the heart of tourist country. As such, expect to pay a little more than most other parks. Even though they take in an inordinate amount of fees, very little is put back into the park. In example, concrete slabs could be put in gradually. Current pads are very narrow, close to each other, and in some instances very uneven. There is a gas station at this park, but no diesel fuel is available. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Fifth Wheel.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
111
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Pull through
Site Space
Quite a bit longer (plenty of space) for my 5th wheel and truck (I didn't have to disconnect
Campsite Features
Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Very Close
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Not Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Mt Rushmore, Chief Crazy Horse, Hill City, Keystone, the 1880 train, museums, etc., are all close to this park

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Review Count: 152
States Visited: 31
Helpful Reviews: 16

Date of Stay: June, 2017 - $56.00
Overall Rating:

We stayed here 4 nights in a back-in spot (Lower Base Camp) that overlooked the grassy central meadow of the resort. We were able to get a site with very little advance notice, but that had to be an exception as the resort was quite full. Sites are mostly spacious, some with shade. The resort has a nice office with some beverages/snacks available, nice outdoor heated pool, playground equipment, and rental cabins. It is very close to major Black Hills roads but noise is no problem. Hill City is 2 miles to the north. We camped at Rafter J Bar Ranch Camping Resort in a Motorhome.

Value
Clean Restrooms
Service
Clean Showers
Cleanliness

Site Details

Campsite
Site Number
174
Site Surface
Gravel
Site Type
Back in
Site Space
Long enough for my motorhome and a towed vehicle
Campsite Features
Fire Ring, Picnic Table
Power Hookups
50 Amp
Sewer Connection
Yes

Campground Details

Space Between Lots
Nearby
Sun & Foliage
Some Shade
Tow Vehicle Parking
Yes, Convenient
Tips for other Campers:

Great access to most Black Hills attractions. Hill City is 2 miles away and has restaurants, groceries, wineries.

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