This private access group campsite is isolated among the forested Black Hills of South Dakota, overlooking a private bay on the Pactola Reservoir. Great for group events with up to 60 people, there are eight individual tent sites around a central parking area. The summers are pleasant, and the bay provides a great way to cool off on sunny days (summer temperatures range from highs in the mid-80s, to lows in the mid-50s). It can be reserved from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Bear Gulch was formerly an eight-site single family campground, but has been converted into a group campground available for one group reservation at a time. It is primitive, but comfortable. There is a brand new accessible toilet. A hand pump for drinking water is available. Six of eight sites within the facility were originally designated for tent-only camping and still serve that purpose with a flat area, picnic table and fire ring at each site. There are a few places to park an RV around the central parking lot, however turning is very tight. There is no electrical hookup. Vehicles must travel down nine miles of dirt roads to reach the facility. Hill City is the nearest town for additional amenities, and Rapid City is 20 miles away.
These campsites are non-electric sites. Generators may run from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. only. Handpump for drinking water does not allow for filling of your rig.
The campground has a gate that is locked. Reservation holders must to go to Pactola Campground Main Booth to secure a gate key and instructions for entry into Bear Gulch. There is a $20.00 refundable key charge.
Pets are allowed, but there is a $2 per pet per night fee payable upon check-in. Pets should be leashed, under control and attended at all times.
Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing organisms by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.
Seasoned wrapped firewood is available from the host at Pactola main campground..
The campground is in a small canyon surrounded by large Ponderosa pine trees on the southern side of the Pactola Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the Black Hills. This canyon was cut from years of water drainage from the surrounding mountains, forming steep slopes on either side of the road leading to the camping area. A variety of wildlife call the Black Hills home, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk and wild turkey. Osprey, also known as fish hawks, are a bird of prey that feed on the abundant fish in the lake.
Bear Gulch is centrally located within the Black Hills and its many forests, lakes, mountains and rivers and sightseeing destinations. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial and Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway are all under an hour away.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Custer State Park
Pactola Reservoir is an 800-acre lake, great for water skiing, swimming, fishing and even scuba diving. There is no boat ramp at the campground, but there is a separate marina where you can rent a boat and two boat ramps nearby on the main reservoir. Pactola Point Swim Beach, the Osprey Trail trailhead and a visitor center are within a short drive of the site. Fishing for such sought-after species as brown, rainbow and record lake trout is popular at the reservoir. There is also fishing in nearby Rapid Creek.
No refunds wll be given for weather or related events
Forest Recreation Management, Inc P.O. Box 1168 Hill City SD 57745
For campground inquiries, please call: 605-574-4402
From Highway 385 take Custer Gulch Road to Forest Service Road 251. Travel six miles to Forest Service Road 253 (Bear Gulch Road). Go three miles to the end of the road and campground.