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“Great RV sites - roomy.”

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Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 June 2013

Wonderful RV Park. Roomy sites, fire ring, quiet. Watch wildlife each night. We had site 237, which has an open meadow area beside it. Would stay there again, only longer next time. Great place and I am extremely picky on RV Parks.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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2  Thank SouthernSR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (254)
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184 - 190 of 254 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2013

We camped with our RV at Rafter J Bar Campground for 3 nights during Memorial Day.
We finally made the right choices near Mount Rushmore. This was our third trip to the area and the best. What we did right: 1. Stayed near Hill City, in the past we stayed in Rapid City--too far and not as much fun. 2. The Rafter J Bar is beautiful, clean and the sites are separated by many trees. It was quiet with a beautiful pool area. 3. Breakfast on site for $2.50 for pancakes was delicious and the husband and wife running it made it feel like you came to grandma and grandpa's house. Excellent. The evening lighting of Mount Rushmore and the lazer show on Chief Joseph were favorites. 4. Winery tours were amazing...Red [--] Winery and Naked Winery were fun. Don't miss.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank montcruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2013

Campsites have lots of space and trees. The pool and hot tub are is nice. So nice to find a campground that lets you enjoy nature and is not a parking lot. The bath houses were clean and the staff very friendly. It is very close to all the attractions. Also they have a nice playground for the kids. We have a 35 ft travel trailer and were able to maneuver just fine in the upper ranch camp (I think the nicest area for nature lovers who still want a bath house). They do have cabins as well but we did not see them.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank zazukitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2013

Overall our four household/family vacation was amazing. The weather was great, the scenery was majestic and relaxing. The cabins were really great. My few complaints are listed here:

1. The biggest complaint is that there is no recycling. This is a big mistake. They have more than enough space for recycling dumpsters, and what an immense amount of trash they could eliminate. ON THE OTHER HAND, there is almost zero litter at this camp. The maintenance staff was really on the ball, and they even have the foresight to hose down the gravel roads and trails when it was super dry in late June/early July.

2. The 'wifi' was never available. They need to update their system to accommodate the amount of campers, or they need to stop advertising this 'feature'.

3. The toilet paper in the cabins was not pleasant. It was very rough and fell apart-I mean I know its camping, but with the level of amenities available-I would think they carried toilet paper that was at least on par with a truck stop.

4. Make sure you bring power strip, preferably a long one. There is only one outlet (two if you unplug your microwave and plug it into the power strip instead.

5. The 'breakfast' was not good. Not at all. The 'all you can eat" pancakes were so heavy and dense and gluey inside. We had planned our meals and planned to eat the breakfast there every day. After one day, we drove into town for cereal and fruit. I don't know how someone could eat more than one serving of those pancakes. The biscuits and gravy were also subpar. We did not eat other menu items. I would say plan on bringing your own food.

6. The pool needs more tables/chairs, and shade umbrellas.


These are minor issues, really. There were so many things we loved about the campground:

1. We were SO happy that we brought bikes. Our kids (ages 12, 9, 8, and three 5 year olds) LOVED riding bikes around the campgrounds, and also on the trail. I noticed a lot of campers had bikes tied to the back-This was our first trip to the Black Hills-it was great for bike fun. There are bikes for rent at the campground-but with first come first serve, we didn't want to risk it, and it was well worth it for the kids (and a few of the adults) to bring ours.

2. The kids loved the arcade.

3. The scenery is truly beautiful and was like the best mood relaxer for the adults.

4. The set up of the camp was great for us-we had three cabins and one RV spot-We were all in a line-the cabins closest to the highway-and we were all happy to be so centrally located in the camp. It was a very short walk to the laundry/ arcade/pool/store.

5.The Black Hills were the stunning, and the closeness to Crazy Horse was wonderful. Other activities our family enjoyed were biking part of the Mickelson Trail, riding the 1880's train, Mt rushmore alpine slides, chuckwagon dinner and show, renting a boat at Pactola Lake, and lots of campfires, cards and boardgames at camp.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank piercedcanvas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2012

We've stayed at quite a few campgrounds in the Black Hills, and this is by far our favorite. It is spread out and you don't feel like you are packed in like sardines. There is also a lot to do, with basketball courts, playground, volleyball and an awesome heated pool. You can also rent bikes and take a ride on the Mickleson Trail, which is just a short distance away and easy to access from the CG. There is also a great gift shop - ice cream is just a couple bucks! We have truly enjoyed our stays here, and look forward to next summer.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank shawn w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2012

We planned this last trip before the kids had to head back to school near the end of August. I was a bit reluctant because we had never been to South Dakota and had never stayed here before. Campgrounds like these are sometimes a hit and miss depending who's running it and how it's ran. We were pleasantly surprised and had a fantastic week here! Rafter J was centrally located to all the fun touristy stuff we wanted to do, Rushmore, Reptile Garden, Bear Country... I was also concerned after reading the reviews about how "strange" the owners were and almost not very friendly were the comments I saw here, but I have to tell you, everyone was very pleasant!! We drove our 35 ft. Class A and was promised a site with trees for shade, however, we ended up at a site further down. We were not happy with that initially but when we saw it, it was probably the best possible site we could have gotten. It was directly facing the playground and the pool about 300 yards away, so it was far enough away but close enough for us to keep an eye on the kids. Our boys went to the pool pretty much every afternoon and early evening and I felt completely safe letting them go on their own, which was a relief for me!! There is a combination of tent, cabin and rv sites throughout and we took a walk around each "camp" and found most of the sites were very nicely kept. They brag about their showers which I didn't get a chance to see, since we didn't need it. Given everything else around, I'm sure they had bragging rights! The pool was a great size and an actual in ground pool with guys coming every day to check the ph levels, so it was at least maintained. The hot tub is a bit small, but fortunately, it wasn't too crowded ever, while we were there. The store located next to the pool was where you'd check in, plus it had a little store with gift shop knick knacks and staples. There was a counter which they sold ice cream by the cup for about $2.00 for a small (which they piled on!) with about 8 flavors to offer, nice treat on a hot day! I'm very picky about trying new places but when I find one that's really great, I shout it out!! So here's my shout out to Rafter J.!! Must check it out if you're doing a South Dakota trip!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank brinks4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2012

We camped here the middle of August 2012. Location is great, facility is nice, and sites are roomy. Only complaint, is you hear road noise from the site. It's such a nice,big, open campground, it's such a shame the highway is so close. Otherwise, great place, and lots to see and do..

Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
Thank tfc63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground

Address: 12325 Rafter J-Bar Road, Hill City, SD 57745
Region: United States > South Dakota > Hill City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Hill City
Number of rooms: 227
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An upscale campground offering tent and trailer camping. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rafter j Bar Ranch Campground Hotel Keystone

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