Dispersed Camping – Buffalo Gap National Grassland Badlands, SD

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If you are going to camp near the Badlands National Park of South Dakota and you don't mind dispersed camping, we found the perfect spot. It is free camping in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands less than 1 mile north of the Pinnacle entrance to Badlands National Park. You will not find any amenities here like water or electric hookups, but the pure beauty just outside your door will more than make up for that. This is public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and I believe you can stay at this place for up to 14 days and the cost is free.

From I-90 in Wall, SD go south on Hwy 240 about 6 miles. You will want to watch for the two cell towers on your left then start looking for the dirt road that leads to the towers. The dirt road was in pretty good condition and we had no problems even pulling our car on the dolly behind us. Once you get to the towers, the road splits left and right. To the right there will be a half-dozen or so sites and seem to be where most people choose to camp. We went to the left where there are many more sites and much more spread out. The sites are basically just pull offs into the grass next to the ridge that show signs of a fire pit with small rocks around it from past campers. The site we picked had plenty of length for our rv and tow. Our first view over the ridge was breath-taking, and felt quite surreal. We just couldn't believe that this is the place we will be calling "home" for the next week.


This was such a great spot that we ended spending 5 nights. We could have stayed  longer if not for the winds that would get a bit intense at times, especially at night. Maybe next time we will park a little farther away from the ledge. Most days we had 1 or 2 other campers out there with us, and at times none even in our eyesight. When the weekend came it got a little more traffic, but still way better then any campground.

We seen some bighorn sheep, mule deer, and bison while we were there. A lady we spoke with said she stayed in the spot we were camping in the prior week and had over 50 mountain goats walk thru the site one morning on her stay, but we didn't get that lucky.

This was our first test on how we would do dry camping with our new rig. We ended up doing pretty good. We had about 1/4 tank  of  fresh water left and plenty of waste tank space to go at least another 3 days. We did run low on battery power  and had to run our built in generator for a few hours every day to recharge. A solar panel or 2 on the roof may be needed in the future.

It was a pretty special place and we hope to be back some day.



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