Pactola Reservoir Campground

Black Hills National Forest

This campground is nestled in the pine trees along the south shore of Pactola Reservoir, offering guests lake views and access to a multitude of recreational opportunities both on land and water. Pactola Visitor Center is located in close proximity to the campground, providing opportunities for conservation education and information to visitors.

Pactola Reservoir Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, including several tent-only sites. Several sites have views of the reservoir. The campground has picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available. Access to the reservoir and beach is within walking distance, and 2 boat ramps are available on-site. A full service marina is nearby, offering basic supplies and services. A National Forest visitor center on the south side of the dam is open seasonally and provides visitors with information about the building of the dam and forest management.

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. Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills, boasting 14 miles of shoreline and 150 foot depths on 800 acres. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam and water. 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

Nearby Jewel Cave 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. Other possible day trips include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument, Devils Tower National Monument and Wind Cave National Park.

Recreation

Black Hills National Forest offers recreational opportunities for all ages. Visitors can take advantage of opportunities for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on moderate terrain. From Pactola Reservoir, hikers can access the 2.2-mile Osprey Trail which includes two loop trails and a spur trail to an overlook. The trail is named for the ospreys that are often seen in the area. Pactola Reservoir is an ideal spot for fishing and boating. The reservoir is stocked with rainbow, lake and brown trout as well as largemouth and rock bass, kokanee salmon and yellow perch. Record lake trout are caught here annually, and large brown trout find habitat in Rapid Creek above and below the reservoir.

Changes & Cancellations

No refunds wil 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: 605-673-9200

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

Drive 17 miles west on State Highway 44 from Rapid City, South Dakota. From Highway 44, turn on 385 south. Campground located 2 miles off US Highway 385.

Available Campsites