Does Mount Rushmore Have A Campground? (Best Campgrounds When Visiting)

Mount Rushmore Below
Mount Rushmore

If you’re visiting Mount Rushmore soon, you may be wondering, “Does Mount Rushmore have a campground?”

Mount Rushmore does not have a campground, but it has plenty of places to camp nearby, including public and private campgrounds, RV parks, and glamping places.

In this article, I’ll highlight some of the best-rated campgrounds near Mount Rushmore as well as some of the more obscure ones.  I’ll even give you some information on free camping on forestry land.

Campgrounds within 5 miles of Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch

I put Mount Rushmore KOA at the top of the list because it has everything you could possibly want to do and the options for lodging are tent camping, RV, trailer, or cabin.  The facility can accommodate even the biggest of RVs.

They offer everything you can possibly imagine at this beautiful resort tucked into the Black Hills.  Water slides, horseback riding, ATV rentals, playground, shopping, fishing, nightly events, and plenty more!  

My family stayed here during Memorial Day weekend in 2022 and we had a blast.  It can be hard to get reservations so make them early. Don’t wait until the last minute!

I also want to add that this place is a hustle-and-bustle type of venue.  The sites are close together so you will be close to neighbors and the activities will be filled with lots of families.  If you are looking for some peace and quiet then don’t stay here!

Grizzly Creek Primitive 

Biew of Pine trees

Grizzly Creek Primitive is the opposite of Palmer Gulch. I wanted to add it next for those turned off by the resort-type campground.

Just two miles from Mount Rushmore and off the famous and stunning Iron Mountain Road sits this wonderful campground.  This campground is tents only and due to the tight turns on the road to it, no vehicles over 24 feet can enter.  

This is for people who want a more traditional nature camping experience, love to hike, or might be on a tighter budget.  Don’t let this deter you though, just do a quick search of their pictures and you will see how serene and relaxing it is there.  

Kemps Kamp

Just one and a half miles from Rushmore sits Kemps Kamp; a serene campground nestled in the ponderosa pines.  Let’s be real, I think all of our wonderful campgrounds are surrounded by these beautiful, fragrant trees. 

This campground offers tent camping, RV, and cabins and is just off Old Hill City Road which is a sweet scenic drive following along the tracks of the 1880 train.  It’s the perfect drive and if you are camping here, definitely make sure to head into Hill City on this road and grab a meal!

Kemps has a swimming pool which offers a nice break on those hot August days! Dogs are not allowed at this campground.

*Fun fact:  After a good rain, the ponderosa pines give off a wonderful smell of cinnamon and vanilla.

Horsethief Lake Campground

Horsethief Lake
Horsethief Lake

This is one of my favorite lakes in the hills.  The scenery is magical and the Horsethief Lake campsites are quiet and small.  Some of the sites are walk-in only. 

You can tent camp or bring your RV.  Fishing and hiking are among the most popular activities here and even though you are tucked away, you are still only two miles from Rushmore.

Rushmore View RV Park

If you want to feel like you are camping in your RV but still be able to walk to shopping and restaurants then Rushmore View RV Park is for you.  The bonus is you can see Mount Rushmore from the parking lot!

Though most sites are short and close together they are pet friendly and close to all the modern-day conveniences.  

Spokane Creek Cabins & Campground

Also along Iron Creek Road, Spokane Creek Cabins & Campground is a family-owned charming campground that houses 19 unique cabins as well as tent and RV sites.

Amenities include an adorably inviting coffee shop, a cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a pool, a gas station, and more! 

Plan your trip to the Black Hills in 5 Days with our free email course. It includes things to do besides Mount Rushmore, when to visit, where to stay, the best places to eat, and road trip ideas.

Downloadable Quick Start Trip Planner included!

Other Campgrounds

Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort

Just 29 minutes drive from Mount Rushmore is this “luxury” camp resort you may want to check out. Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort is located in Custer, South Dakota, home to Custer State Park and the mesmerizing Crazy Horse Memorial.

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a teepee, a treehouse, or try “glamping”, this place has all three! Not just that, but it offers heated pools with a bar and concession stand, 85 acres of views, and a general store. Pet’s are even welcome here!

Sylvan Lake Campground

View of Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills
Sylvan Lake

There are 9 campgrounds in Custer State Park, but I’m going to highlight Sylvan Lake Campground here because it’s one of the prettiest areas in the Black Hills and you can do a large variety of hikes right from the campgrounds. One is the famous Black Elk Peak hike.

Tent camping here is very affordable compared to many campgrounds, but the sites are closer together and not big enough to house a large tent or RV over 27 feet.

For more information on all the Custer State Park campgrounds, check them out here.

Larsson’s Crooked Creek

“Turning strangers into friends and friends into family” is the motto of this family-owned campground in Hill City South Dakota.  Larsson’s Crooked Creek is just nine miles from Rushmore and along a shady creek.  You can stay in a tent, RV, cabin, or lodge and bring your best friend, Fido if you want.

Additional Information

Dispersed Camping (also known as “boondocking”)

Dispersed camping or free camping on public land without amenities or hookups is allowed in the Black Hills. However, there are some rules to follow.  You can find the rules on the Forest Service Website.

Can You Park an RV at Mount Rushmore?

RV driving down the road

Yes, you can, but the parking is very limited during peak season-May through September.  Arrive early, if possible, and stay in lane 4.  Parking is only $10 per vehicle. 

*Note that you cannot stay overnight in the parking lot in your RV.

Is There More Camping Than Listed in This Article?

YES.  There are more campgrounds than I can even count throughout the Black Hills.  People even have single campsites on their property as well as small cabins and horse camping.  The options are almost limitless and the sooner you book your trip, the more you will have to choose from.  But even if you are booking a last-minute trip there is always somewhere to camp in the Black Hills. 

For more great locations in the Black Hills, you can try looking into Spearfish, Deadwood, Lead, Rapid City, Sturgis, and more.

Every small town has its charm and things to offer so if you end up camping further from Mount Rushmore you will have the opportunity to see more of our Hills while still being able to enjoy a scenic drive wherever you go!

What Else Should I Know?

The Black Hills can be confusing because it is a HUGE area. There is so much to do!

Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites, yet still avoid crowds. We have a detailed itinerary that gives you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to all the best places at the right times!

But that’s not all! Our itinerary includes a free audio guide to listen to while driving, with over 2 hours of stories about the park!


BLACK HILLS TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about the Grand Canyon, check out our Black Hills Homepage

AREAS: The Black Hills is home to some amazing national parks and monuments: Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave and Jewel Cave National Parks, Badlands, and Crazy Horse.  Plus, the amazing Custer State Park

THINGS TO DO: There is much more to do than hike and look at Mt. Rushmore.  Explore the 1880 train, Reptile Gardens, slip down a natural waterslide, or go on a scenic drive

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Explore some amazing mountain towns including Deadwood, Keystone, Hill City, and Rapid City.

GET QUIRKY: Want something REALLY different? Check out Devil’s Tower and Wall Drug

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and around Mt. Rushmore plus where to eat in each city

WATCH: Enjoy videos of the amazing Black Hills while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Black Hills YouTube Playlist


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