Posted in: Campground Review, Exploring South Dakota

Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground: Campground Review

For our week in South Dakota (for Mount Rushmore), we stayed at the Rafter J Bar Ranch.

They offer full hookups, RV and tent camping, and cabin rentals. There is swimming pool, bathhouses (open!), laundry facilities (washer and dryer by quarters), a small store, and a pancake breakfast (for a fee, Monday-Thursday, Memorial Day to Labor Day). Unfortunately, when we went to reserve a spot for the pancakes, we were told they were not doing them this year due to Covid-19.

It is a beautiful campground and seems well maintained. RV spots are pull through or back in and are on gravel spaces. A lot of the spots are in the shade. It is really well spaced out so you don’t feel cramped in. The beginning drive is paved and has street lights lining it. They do (as of our booking) take a discount for Good Sam members.

It backs into The Black Hills National Forrest for hiking activities.

It is a bit of a drive to get to other places. There is the small town of Hill City about 10-15 minutes drive and a Walmart about 30-40 minutes away. Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial are 20-30 minutes away.

The laundry room closest to our camp site had 3 washers (although one was broken), which costs $3.00 to do a load of laundry. They were regular sized washers. The driers (there were 2) were much larger and cost $0.25 initially. I think each load of our laundry used about 2 quarters to dry (on medium heat).

The pool was a nice size and there were tables with umbrellas. The camp store had souvenirs, beer, ice, basic camping and first aid supplies, and ice cream sandwiches! There is also a small parking area just for pool parking, if you are in a further away camp spot and want to drive up.

I felt very happy with our campground selection . If we would ever come back to this area again, I would definitely stay here! Everything was well maintained and we didn’t feel crowded. When we drive around and see other campgrounds where they are packed in like sardines, I am so grateful we found this site.

The boys made a video tour of the campground, if you would like to see it.



Our rating: 4 out of 5 hitches

Cell Phone Reception: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile

WiFi: Yes

Laundry: Yes

Bathrooms/Showers: Yes

RV Sites: Pull Through, Back-in

Pop Up Tents/Gazebos On-Site: Yes

Amenities: picnic table, fire pit/grill, playground, volleyball and basketball

Cabins: Yes

Tent Camping: Yes

Full Hook-ups: Yes. There are 30 and 50 amp sites.

Pool: Yes

Food On-Site: Camp store, pancake breakfast suspended due to Covid

Camp store: Yes

Fishing: Yes, need license

Comments (3) on "Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground: Campground Review"


  2. Looks like your having a great time, we really enjoyed our video tour of the campground. Maybe Will and Nick have a future in film making! Lots of love to ya’ll stay safe TTFN Mom and Dad

  3. Thank you will and Nick for the excellent tour…. It looks really nice and very easy to get around and find everything needed… Hope you get an opportunity to sit at the fire!!!! The shop looks like it is very nice too…..Just thinking that whole country is your home and you are sharing some great information for all of us..thanks so much

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