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“Very Good campground, almost perfect.”

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Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 July 2014

We stayed at Rafter J for 3 nights while we were in the Black Hills. It is located within 10-15 miles of all the major attractions in the Black Hills. The park is HUGE and well laid out. It felt like camping in the wilderness. The breakfast was excellent (all you can eat pancakes), unfortunately they only served it a couple of times a week. The pool and hot tub were clean and comfortable. The camp store was stocked with everything you would need. All in all we loved the park and this place should get 5 stars EXCEPT for the Wi-Fi. The park claimed it had park wide Wi-Fi, but it rarely worked and sometimes when it did the open-dns server would block almost every site! (cnn, espn, weather.com). Short story: this park doesn't have Wi-Fi.

Room Tip: We got lucky and stayed in the part of the park called "the line". We loved it. The othe...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank KC_Scottie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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142 - 148 of 256 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2014

We just returned from our 3rd stay at the Rafter J Bar Ranch. We have searched out many places around Custer, Mt. Rushmore, Hill City, etc., and found this to be the best. It is a very professionally run campground. There are campsites to appeal to all sorts of camping tastes. Rafter J Bar fills quickly, so one needs to think ahead and get reservations far in advance.

During our three visits, we have stayed on the hillside (hard to get level in a Class C), and in the main big-rig section behind the office (sort of tight, but ok). Cable TV was free. We had a long drive prior to arriving, and the first thing we did was put our suits on and head for the hot tub. It was awesome.

We also enjoy the close proximity to the bike trails, Hill City, Keystone, Custer and Mt. Rushmore. Location, location, location is everything.

I see that another reviewer commented on the doughy pancakes. My husband and son said just the opposite. They said their pancakes were light and airy. . . for $2.75/all you can eat, it's a deal. . . . especially when feeding a teen boy.

The only suggestions I would have for them is to offer car rental and better wifi. I had to drive to another campground in Custer to get a car (we chose to not tow a car behind our motorhome). The wifi is totally worthless. Aside from that, we vowed we would return.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
1  Thank annieglory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2014

I have stayed regularly at Rafter J my entire life. We just got back from a 4 day stay at your campground. The advertised breakfasts were a huge disappointment. We are the first day but then made our own the rest of the time for our stay. The pancakes were doughy and the sausage greasy. Advertize where you have to buy tickets. We heard several people complain about that also. Also, what happened to the biscuits and gravy. Another great disappointment. Store was poorly stocked with certain items. All pepsi products. Some people do drink Coke. Good think Hill City was close and could go to the store there.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank Ivy551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2014

We love this campground! Love the scenery! We have been here many times...tho this last time I was a little disappointed. The bathrooms were very dirty. Very buggy. They leave the doors open so everything goes flying in there! Tried to take a shower one night and it was disgusting! Swarms of bugs all over...in the toilets, the showers, the sinks...very gross! They need to clean more often...or put a screen door up. Staff treated us fine, but the campers there were terrible. People cutting thru sites. Rude. I also did not like the fact that kids were in the hot tub...my hubby and I wanted to enjoy it and when we got over there it was teeming with 5-8 years olds. Seriously?! A hot tub should be for 18 and up. We never did get in it. And what happened to the horses that used to be on site? That was part of the draw with this campground...it is a "ranch" after all. All in all, our SD trip was good...but I have been in cleaner campgrounds.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Noeau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

I would avoid the main camp area. People were walking through our campsite often and it is a high traffic area. We have stayed here before but decided to try this area for easier acces to the pool. Bad choice.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank Perry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2014

This is a beautiful setting with lots of open spaces well as several shaded areas for campsites. The store has a nice selection of necessities and gifts. Restroom were clean and showers were warm. The only issue I had was that although I reserved a 30 amp site we were given and charged for a 50 amp site. Despite 3 phone calls we had never received an email confirmation of our reservation; therefore our rate was different that what was shown on website. Others we talked to also had problems with reservations so it seems to be an issue that should be addressed. The views and Ponderosa pine air helped make up for the inconsistencies.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
Thank jeanniehoosier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2014

We stayed a week at the Rafter J. We had a great time. We were traveling with family and wanted to all be together, but office staff couldn't or didn't want to work it out. It turned out to be fine. Our site was the best site. It was shaded and we felt that we had privacy. We stayed in Base Camp, so it was a distance from the bathhouse. The bathhouse was just ok. I only showered in it once. There were too many bugs in there the other time that I went to shower. I do feel that more attention could be paid to the bathrooms. My husband said that every time he went to shower that it needed attention. I have definitely had nicer showers.
The staff seemed to be helpful and friendly, but we didn't really have any issues. We had a great camping experience. Campfires every night, kids playing and riding bikes, and the weather was perfect. It is very close to all the major sightseeing spots and great for a base camp for sightseeing. Overall, we had a great stay and would return again.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
Thank Pepper959
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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