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Bear Gulch is a private group campsite located in the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota with 8 individual tent sites overlooking a private bay on the Pactola Reservoir. Activities such as fishing, swimming, water skiing, and even scuba diving are popular here, with nearby attractions including Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Custer State Park. The campground offers primitive, but comfortable facilities with access to a hand pump for drinking water.


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.


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.


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.

Natural Features

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.

Nearby Attractions

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

Charges & Cancellations

No refunds wll be given for weather or related events

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Campground Matrix

Set alerts at more campgrounds to increase your odds of getting a place to stay! Below is a list of the closest campgrounds supported on Campflare. Or, view all campgrounds in Black Hills National Forest.

Nearby Campgrounds Distance Notification Rate
Pactola Reservoir
Black Hills National Forest
0.4mi 71%
Sheridan North Cove Grp Cg
Black Hills National Forest
Sheridan Lake
Black Hills National Forest
7.0mi 73%
Roubaix Lake
Black Hills National Forest
11.2mi 83%
Willow Creek Horse Camp
Black Hills National Forest
Horsethief Lake
Black Hills National Forest
12.6mi 74%
Made with ❤️ in Mammoth Lakes
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