Bismarck Lake

Black Hills National Forest

Bismarck Lake Campground is set amidst a scattering of aspen groves and Ponderosa pine on the southeast edge of Bismarck Lake at 5,000 feet. This is a great place for visitors seeking recreation and relaxation in the Black Hills National Forest. Acess to this campground is through Custer State Park near the West Highway 16A entrance. Sites in the campground are widely spaced and open up to views of lakes, providing adequate privacy for visitors.

Bismarck Lake Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs.

Access to the lake is within walking distance and there is a beautiful boardwalk and with fishing piers along the waters edge. 

The campground has picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water; however, electrical hook-ups are not available.  

Need to Know

Natural Features

Located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, Black Hills National Forest encompasses nearly 1.25 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves.

Derived from the Lakota language, the words "Paha Sapa," meaning "hills that are black," honor the dark, pine-covered hills rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie.

Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate mountainous terrain, while elk, deer and pronghorn gather in forests and prairies. Bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcon, and hundreds of other bird species can be found in the forest, especially along streams, lakes and rivers.

Nearby Attractions

Possible day trips include Custer State Park with its many buffalo and other wildlife, Crazy Horse Monument and Wind Cave National Park as well as Jewel Cave which is the second longest cave in the world at 159.29 miles. It features sparkling calcite crystals and other rare formations, as well as some of the largest concentrations of passageways in the world.

Bismarck Lake Campground is within a couple of miles of the start of the beautiful Needles Highway scenic drive .

Recreation

The forest offers accessible recreation for all ages and abilities. Visitors can take advantage of opportunities for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on moderate terrain. At the campground, a short foot trail traverses the forested shoreline, offering opportunities for birding in early morning or picnicking in the afternoon. For those seeking higher elevations, a day-long trek to the summit of nearby Black Elk Peak is worth the effort. Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the summit is bare granite and offers expansive views of the surrounding area. An old stone tower (Harney Lookout Tower) at the top, once used as a fire lookout, is still open to hikers. Adjacent to the campground is Bismarck Lake, an ideal spot for fishing and boating. The lake supports populations of rainbow and brown trout, a variety of sunfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and catfish.

Changes & Cancellations

No refunds will be given for weather or related events.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Forest Recreation Management, Inc P.O. Box 1168 Hill City SD 57745

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: (605)673-9300

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

In Custer, SD, at the intersection of State Rt. 89/US Rt.16A (Mt.Rushmore Rd) and US Rt. 16/US Rt. 385 (5th St.), take US Rt.16A east for 4.8 miles (past Custer State Park entrance) to Bismarck Lake campground sign. Turn left at sign into campground.

Available Campsites