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It can be something of a pilgrimage to get all the way over to Mount Rushmore but the national memorial does remain on many people’s bucket lists.

Mount Rushmore lies in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and over two million people make the trip every year. That giant carving of the four Presidents remains an iconic American image though you should want to make a trip of it.

With so many visitors, the campgrounds are in high demand so make sure that you book yours early enough to avoid disappointment.

In this guide, we will look at the best campsites near Mount Rushmore.

For Proximity To Mount Rushmore And Custer State Park

Kemp’s Kamp

Address: 1022 Old Hill City Road, Keystone, South Dakota, 57751

If you want to get close to Mount Rushmore then Kemp’s Kamp is only around five miles away. The campsite is also only a 30-minute drive away from Custer State Park yet there are more factors to consider than just its proximity.

The campsite offers electricity and water facilities as well as satellite TV and a heated pool. There are also full hookup creekside sites which act as back-in or pull-in sites.

For Proximity To Mount Rushmore

Grizzly Creek Primitive

Address: Route 16a, Hill City, South Dakota, 57745

Only a few minutes down the same street that leads to the Mount Rushmore National Park visitor’s center is Grizzly Creek Campground.

Indeed, if you want to be so close it almost feels like the national memorial is in sight then this is the one for you.

The campground lies in Hill City which has a few amenities itself including a market, a museum, a diner, and a cafe while the likes of Spring Creek and Major Lake are ideal spots to visit.

With rustic facilities, the campground is known for its scenic views with biking and hiking trails nearby, as well as plenty of viewpoints.

For Family Fun

Rushmore Shadows RV Resort

Address: 23680 Busted Five Ct, Rapid, South Dakota, 57702

Another campground that is not far from Mount Rushmore is Rushmore Shadows RV Resort. In fact, you would only be a 20-minute drive away from the National Park entrance itself as the campground lies just right off US-16, close to Rockerville.

The kids can hang about by the swimming pool or play a round of mini golf. With friendly staff, you will enjoy your stay and the resort even organizes bus tours of the national memorial.

For Amenities

Mount Rushmore KOA Resort (AKA Palmer Gulch Resort)

Address: 12620 SD-244, Hill City, South Dakota, 57745

For guest amenities, few campsites offer as much as Mount Rushmore KOA Resort. For one, you can enjoy a shuttle to Mount Rushmore itself as well as rent a car, a bike, or a bounce pillow.

There is cable TV if you want it and a swimming pool for a quick dip if you want to remain enjoying the great outdoors.

The resort is only a 15-minute drive away from Mount Rushmore yet you may want to stay for the dinner show and horseback riding.

For A Trip Back In Time

Spokane Creek Cabins And Campground

Address: 24631 Iron Mountain Road, Keystone, South Dakota, 57751

If you want a trip to Mount Rushmore with a difference then head to Spokane Creek Cabins and Campground. Spokane is essentially a ghost town and the 1800s are brought to life in this unique campground.

Though the accommodations may be understandably rustic, there are modern activities to do including mini-golf and basketball. Then there are more traditional ones like horseshoes and a playground, plus you can rent a gas grill for a barbecue.

For Staying In And Going Out

Black Hills Trailside Park Resort

Address: 24024 US-385, Hill City, South Dakota, 57745

For some, a trip to Mount Rushmore may simply mean seeing the four faces, taking a few snaps for the ‘gram, and then heading back to the modern world.

If that’s the deal then Black Hills Trailside Park Resort is the one for you as it offers Wi-Fi alongside cable and the essentials like water, sewers, and electricity.

Downtown is only a walk away making this a great campground to stay in while the Mickelson Trail runs through the park and then Spring Creek.

This is a great place to call a base if you still need those modern trappings yet there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy including hiking, fishing, and inner tubing.

For The Scenery

Horsethief Lake Campground

Address: 24391 Highway 87, Hill City, South Dakota 57745

Nestled in the Black Hills itself is Horsethief Lake Campground and it is well worth staying at if you want to visit Mount Rushmore, though make a booking six months in advance to make sure you can get a spot.

Even if you fit the visit to Mount Rushmore in early, you can still enjoy the picturesque views of the encompassing scenery. Then there is the smell of scented pines around the 36 non-electric sites for you to enjoy.

Once you are settled in, you can take a dip in Horsethief Lake or go on the Mickelson Trail or spend the day hiking the Black Elk Peak which stands at 7,000 feet.

For A Range Of Accommodations

Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort

Address: 245 Centennial Drive, Custer, South Dakota, 57730

Close to Custer is Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort which is the ideal place to get you closer to nature. There are around 125 sites to choose from across a campground that spreads a full 85 acres while remaining close to Mount Rushmore.

That includes glamping sites, deluxe cabins, and even teepees which are hand-painted and can house up to seven people so should be big enough for a large family.

On-site, you can enjoy a mini-golf course, a playground, and a basketball court though the views of Black Elk Peak and the Needles can both be seen from the campsites.

For Staying In Custer State Park

Sylvan Lake Campground

Address: 24581, SD-87, Custer, South Dakota, 57730

Custer State Park remains one of the largest US state parks and there are several campgrounds to choose from, one of the most sought-after being Sylvan Lake Campground.

The main reason for its popularity is the mile-long shore of the lake which is the state park’s most popular attraction.

There are plenty of water-based activities to enjoy, once you have chosen from 39 campsites that can take in tents as well as small camping vehicles.

Then there is Sylvan Lake Lodge which can offer hot meals in a restaurant, a lounge, and a general store.

For Water-Based Activities

Pactola Campground

Address: Rapid City, South Dakota, 57702

If water-based activities are a crucial aspect of staying near Mount Rushmore then choose Pactola Campground.

The campground’s name is taken from Pactola Lake, the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills region with 800 acres of water to enjoy.

For a sedate time, hire a boat yet you could scuba dive in those waters. There is so much space yet you should still reserve your spot early as it remains one of the best campgrounds in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get To Mount Rushmore?

To see the iconic image containing the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, you need to get to the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota.

The national memorial itself is on State Highway 244 which connects Highway 385 to 16A in the southwestern part of the state. If you want to see two state parks then Crazy Horse is a work of sculpture in progress at Custer State Park.

When Should I Time My Visit To Mount Rushmore?

The campsites in the South Dakota region that contain Mount Rushmore tend not to be open until May. Therefore the best time to visit should be when most people are sightseeing.

For less traffic and fewer crowds, aim your visit for the start of the season in May. The season runs until September so you should get the best of the weather too.

Temperatures typically range from an average high of 90°F at the peak of the day during summer which makes for a semi-humid climate.

Final Thoughts

Mount Rushmore should be a draw in itself yet the campgrounds nearby are well worth sampling too.

Try to find one that matches your idea of a good camping trip, whether that be a gas grill you can rent for a barbecue or activities like a swimming pool or scuba diving

Some are so close to Mount Rushmore, it may seem like the four faces of the Presidents are in view the entire time you are staying there.

Others offer excellent views while being close to Custer State Park too and combining that state park with the Black Hills can create an epic trip.

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