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“Absolutely the BEST campground!!!”

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Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 September 2013 via mobile

Most friendly and the cleanest campgrounds, and you can't beat the all you can eat pancakes breakfast with a great view of the black hills. It has very good security. The staff are the friendliest bunch of people I've ever met. We can't wait to return next year.
Note: This campground is in Hill City, SD

  • Stayed: August 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
2  Thank Bob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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167 - 173 of 258 reviews

Reviewed 2 September 2013

We stayed here for two nights and wished we stayed longer! Our tent site was in the Ranch Camp loop right across from the bathrooms. It was a quiet, convenient spot. We didn't use the pool but it looked clean. The breakfast in the morning was great. We enjoyed the pancakes and biscuits & gravy. Very cheap, too! The campground was packed but it did not feel like we were right on top of our neighbors. This served as a great central location for exploring Custer, downtown Hill City, and Mount Rushmore. Be sure to catch the nightly lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. It started around 8 when we were there.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Neil and Sara W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2013

We really enjoyed our time at this campground. We stayed in the little cabins. It was a very pretty setting. I guess one could get closer to Mount Rushmore but it was about a 15 minute drive to the monument. We really liked the pancakes and sausage that was prepared in the morning near the back of the little grocery store at the center of the campground.

The only negative thing i could say about this place was that the Wifi was not working so we couldn't use our electronics.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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Thank dilly4j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2013

We ended up here because our reservation on an RV with Cruise America was messed up and we had no where to go that night with 3 kids. They said they had a comfort cabin available and we took it(it was $ 109 plus $ 3 bucks a night for my 9 year old one. we stayed 5 nights, we figured is cheaper than a hotel and still will be considered kosher within the camping definition.
Like the pictures here, it has one bathroom, a double bed, bunk beds and the table and benches becomes another double bed. Since we had all the pots and pans and beddings that we were suppose to bring to the RV, it was a match made in the black hills heaven.

We flipped the mattress the second night to try to make it better because it was just a concavity with gravitational forces when you laid down. So I agree, not the comfiest bed(At least in cabin # 96 where we stayed) but I figure I am camping and I have to rough it at some point right? We always had hot water, and the water pressure was nice, the shower is a corner one and small, and they have one of those hand held shower heads which it was nice, but the position of it inside the shower made it hard sometimes.

I had RV toilet paper I was glad, because the TP roll was so tight in that thing-a -magiga, that when you would pull to get some, it would only work for somebody who had the derriere the size of a square of toilet paper.

The fridge is a little one, so no big ice cream bucket here, get skinny popsicles or go to the office and buy it by the scoop.

We did not have AC but the weather was great and it got even cold at night.

The laundry facilities by the cabins is $2.50 and the driers are $0.25 per 10 minutes increment, I saw people who just dried their clothes on a line to the fresh air of the hills, I just used the drier because we were leaving early the next day.

I got internet reception when I went on top of the playground with my laptop while my kids played on it. If you are a male with no kids, this could look creepy. Or you can got the office and they have wifi there. But yes, since the cabins are down the hill, making a call or checking your email takes work, but who cares, we are camping.

The pool had some grasshoppers on it, I guess to keep you in touch with the wild. I would return there, it was a nice compromise between home comforts and nature.

Room Tip: Do Laundry by the cabins. It seems cheaper according to other reviews.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank 35Escapades
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2013

I am so happy we picked rafter j for our trip. Of all the campgrounds we drove by, this one is definitely the only one to stay at. We had a comfort cabin. Cabin was clean and cute. Small but worked for us 2 adults 2 kids. Beds are not comfortable but we survived. Bring ext cord and power strip as only one outlet. Staff was always friendly. Had pancake bfst 3 mornings. Didn't plan on eating it 3 mornings but it was so quick and convenient and good that we just thought it was easier. Couple who serves bfst is very nice. Campground is close to everything. We drove needles hwy twice since it was so close. Kids loved pool and ice cream. Only regret is wishing we would have stayed longer!:) great place. Will be back!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Gina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2013

We travelled from Manitoba and stayed for 6 nights at the Rafter J. The location was great for seeing all the sights in the area, very close to Hill City and Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park.

Our check-in was easy and they accommodated our move to another site to be close to others travelling with us. The store has anything you require from RV supplies to hot coffee, pizzas, ice cream, food, souveniers. The staff was generally quite young but there was a manager present often. There's laundry across from the office.

The sites were very clean and had full hook-ups. The pool and hot tub were cleaned every morning and it was great having it there after a full day of sightseeing. They do have a quiet time of 10p.m. and ask that all fires are out by 11p.m. This was good as the sites were very quiet after 10p.m. and there were no disruptions or rowdies.

They offered a pancake breakfast in the mornings from 7-10a.m. which was adequate for $2.50, nothing fancy but you can't really mess up pancakes. They also do biscuits & gravy and sides for extra $. On Tues/Thurs they have a BBQ night with food & entertainment but we didn't take part so I can't comment on how that is.

We would definitely stay at this site again, they have a wonderful set up with any amenities you could ask for.

Room Tip: We stayed in base camp which was very close to the pool and pancake breakfast. The 'island'...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank LegalSec83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2013

We are not campers so being in a small space (Comfort cabin) without a couch, cell reception and very spotty wifi was an adjustment. However, the cabin was in great shape. We couldn't hear a thing. The full-size bed is small and the waterproof mattress makes a sound every time you roll over. The kids loved biking around the campground and they swam for hours and hours. We did the pancake breakfast only one morning due to the cool temps, but that was great too. We stayed for four nights. We didn't have any problems with the staff (in other reviews). I saw them get very angry at the pool (boys jumping off of a picnic bench into the pool) but otherwise everything was fine. The shower and laundry facilities were great.

Room Tip: The Comfort Cabins are very close to everything.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank MenomonieTravelers
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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