The Black Hills National Forest covers more than 1.25 million acres in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is in this forest, and Wind Cave National Park lies directly to its west. It forms the northern and western edge of Custer State Park. The Black Hills National Forest is a terrific place to go fishing, with over 1,300 miles of streams and 11 reservoirs. There are also over 353 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. You may want to start your visit at the Pactola Visitors Center at the Pactola Dam near Rapid City, South Dakota, or the Black Hills Visitor Information Center located off I-90 at Exit 61.
Camping in Black Hills National Forest
The remoteness of Black Hills National Forest makes it a great place to go RVing. You will not waste precious time driving somewhere to stay that may not be convenient. If you do not have an RV, it is simple to rent one on RVshare.com. That way, you are covered with 24/7 roadside assistance if anything happens,
Deerfield Reservoir Complex
Camping sites at Deerfield Reservoir Complex near Hill City, South Dakota, are divided into three separate areas. There are two boat launches allowing you to put a vessel on the water easily. You will love the spacious picnic areas at this complex, where rates start at about $16 per night.
Boxelder Forks Campground
The Boxelder Forks Campground provides easy access to Boxelder Creek and the fishery located on it. Beautiful trails run near and through this campground, located near Nemo, South Dakota. Rates start at $16 per night.
Dalton Lake Campground
Dalton Lake Campground offers easy access to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Black Hills National Forest. Restrooms are nearby. Rates start at $18 per night at this campground.
Black Hills National Forest Hiking Trails
Hikers have a variety of trails to choose from in the Black Hills. Wind through Custer State Park, or try part (or all!) of the 111 mile Centennial Trail. Other forest trails afford beautiful views of wildflowers or teach hikers about the history of the area.
Centennial Trail runs from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. There are seven trailheads to Centennial Trail, so you can easily plan to hike the whole way or just a part of it. Numerous spots are available for tent camping along its 111-mile length.
Length: 111 miles
Harney Peak Trail
The Harney Peak Trail is in Custer State Park. It winds its way by a lake and up a hill to a lookout tower. You can hike this trail all year long, but it is especially remarkable from May to October.
Length: 6.4 miles
The Flume Trail is a National Recreation Trail because of its historical significance to residents. The area where this trail runs carried water to the mining operations located in the area. Along the route, see historical artifacts and how workers changed the land to construct the flume.
Length: 11 miles
Old Baldy Trail
The Old Baldy Trail near Spearhead, South Dakota, is magnificent in the springtime when the wildflowers are in bloom. Parts of this trail to Mt. Baldy are better maintained than others, so bring some bushwhacking tools along. This pet-friendly trail is also beautiful in the fall.
Length: 7 miles
Little Spearfish Trail
Meander through an old-growth Ponderosa pine forest on the Little Spearfish Trail. Watch along the creek to see dipper birds feeding. These tiny songbirds feed almost entirely underwater.
Length: 6 miles
How to get to Black Hills National Forest
Address: U.S. Highway 385 Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
Fee: Entry fee $0
You will love exploring Black Hills National Forest, where you can go hiking, biking, rock climbing, and more. Several campgrounds are available, so bring your RV and use this location as a base to explore the rest of the area. If you do not have an RV, rent one on RVshare.com.
Frequently Asked Questions About Black Hills National Forest
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in Black Hills National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak and canoe in the Black Hills National Forest. However, while you may enjoy floating in a raft on a lake or river, there are no fast-moving rivers that are suitable for whitewater rafting. Kayakers may find a few rapids they can shoot through, but larger rafting trips are not to be found.
Do you need a permit to fish or hunt in Black Hills National Forest?
Yes, you do need a permit to hunt in the Black Hills National Forest. If you are 18 or older, you will need a fishing license to fish in South Dakota. In Wyoming, you need a fishing license if you are 14 or older.
What is the best time to visit Black Hills National Forest?
The best time to visit the Black Hills National Forest is in the summer. The weather is warmest then, so visitors can hike, camp, paddle, and swim comfortably. Summer is also when the forest is the most accessible, after all the snow has melted.
Is Black Hills National Forest open all year round?
Yes, the Black Hills National Forest is open all year-round. In summer, visitors can hike, swim, paddle, and bike. In winter, guests can cross-country ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, and try other winter outdoor activities.
What type of wildlife lives in Black Hills National Forest?
Wildlife living in the Black Hills National Forest includes deer, elk, bison, marmots, mountain goats, and wild turkeys. There is also a variety of birds that live in the forest, along with plenty of fish in the lakes and streams.