If you’re visiting Mount Rushmore soon, you may be wondering, “Does Mount Rushmore have a campground?”
No, 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!
- Find out When Is The Best Time To Visit Mount Rushmore and How Much Time Do You Need At Mount Rushmore?
- Check out the Mount Rushmore Evening Lighting Ceremony.
Grizzly Creek Primitive
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.
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.
- Check out our review: The 1880 Train In South Dakota: Should You Ride It?
- Need help planning your trip to Mount Rushmore? Check out our Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Itinerary where we’ve done all the planning for you!
Horsethief Lake Campground
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!
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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, 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!
- Check out The Complete Guide To Visiting The Crazy Horse Memorial In South Dakota for more information about visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial.
- Learn all about the Volksmarch and Walking To The Top Of Crazy Horse.
Sylvan Lake Campground
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.
- Don’t miss an exciting experience at Custer State Park’s Annual Buffalo Roundup.
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.
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?
Yes, you can, but the parking is very limited during peak season-May thru 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!
- Discover Things You Can’t Miss On Your First Visit To Beautiful Spearfish Canyon, So Dakota.
- Don’t miss 15 Unforgettable Things To Do In Rapid City, South Dakota.
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!
- Our Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Itinerary
- Our Black Hills Trip Planner Page
- When Is The Best Time To Visit Mount Rushmore?
- How Much Time Do You Need At Mount Rushmore
- How To Do The Confusing Black Elk Peak Hike
- Custer State Park’s Annual Buffalo Roundup
- Things You Can’t Miss On Your First Visit To Beautiful Spearfish Canyon, So Dakota
- The Complete Guide To Visiting The Crazy Horse Memorial In South Dakota
- Walking To The Top Of Crazy Horse: My Experience And Tips For The Volksmarch
- 15 Unforgettable Things To Do In Rapid City, South Dakota
- The 1880 Train In South Dakota: Should You Ride It?
- Mount Rushmore Website
- Crazy Horse Memorial Website