Black Hills National Forest Guide

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. 

Where to Camp

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, 

RV Rentals Near Black Hills National Forest

Shape Hiking Trails

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.

Things to Do

Activities in Black Hills National Forest

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

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

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.