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Amazing Week at the Gulch in Custer, SD

Amazing Week at the Gulch in Custer, SD


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 08/03/2020
Posted On 09/26/2020 09:45:00

Camping | South Dakota | Custer | Black Hills National Forest | Custer's Gulch RV Park & Campground | Custer's Gulch | Favorite Campgrounds | Good Sam RV Park | General Custer



Of the four places in South Dakota where we camped with Scott's brother and sister-in law, Custer's Gulch RV Park & Campground was at the top of all of our "favorite campground" lists. Unfortunately, we reduced what started as a nine night stay to six nights. Although the three nights that we spent elsewhere ended up being at our least favorite campground, we did at least shorten the drive times to the more northern sites that we visited.

Named after General Custer, Custer's Gulch is in an excellent location for those wanting to explore the Black Hills National Forest. Just 1/2 mile from the west entrance to Custer State Park, the campground is only three miles from downtown Custer and an easy drive to both Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial.

With cabins and tent space available, Custer's Gulch is not just for RV camping. No matter what type of accommodations you choose, you'll likely be pleased with how spacious and well-shaded your site is. As a Good Sam RV Park, members can also take advantage of a 10% discount.

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Why the Name "Custer's Gulch"?

The site which is home to today's Custer's Gulch RV Park is the same place that General George Custer camped on his 1874 Black Hills Expedition. The purpose for General Custer's visit was to search for a location for an Army fort as well as to understand what natural resources (i.e. gold) were available in the area.

The team of men led by General Custer did find small amounts of gold. The Black Hills Gold Rush began later that year and reached its peak just over two years later. Although today's visitors may not find gold, they will likely see wildlife similar to that seen almost 150 years ago!


Deer Roaming Near Entrance to Custer's Gulch

Deer Roaming Near Entrance to Custer's Gulch

What Amenities to Expect at Custer's Gulch RV Park

Custer's Gulch RV Park and Campground is open to campers each year from April 15 through October 31. In addition to 70+ RV sites, there are a few cabins and 7 primitive campsites available for tents.


Entering Custer's Gulch RV Park & Campground

Entering Custer's Gulch RV Park & Campground

Check-in takes place at the Registration Office near the campground entrance. Campsites are available beginning at 2:00 PM Mountain Time and cabin check-in begins at 4:00 PM. Check-out for all guests is at 11:00 AM. The registration office seconds as a small Camp Store offering limited convenience items as well as firewood, ice and propane for purchase.


Custer's Gulch Registration Office

Custer's Gulch Registration Office

A shower house with flush toilets and hot showers is centrally located within the campground. The RV dump station, small laundry room (2 washers priced at $1.75 per load & 2 dryers at $1.50) and pond are also nearby. Dumpsters are located near the campground exit.


Laundry Room at Custer's Gulch

Laundry Room at Custer's Gulch

Unless reserved by a group, the Clubhouse is available for all guests.


Clubhouse Open for All Guests

Clubhouse Open for All Guests

Since we spent the majority of our time exploring the Black Hills, we missed seeing the advertised horse shoes pits, volleyball court and hiking trails. We did get lucky during one of our evenings in the campground to catch a great sunset!


Sunset Over Custer's Gulch RV Park

Sunset Over Custer's Gulch RV Park

What are the Sites at Custer's Gulch RV Park Like?

The campsites at Custer's Gulch RV Park have a feel similar to sites at many state park campgrounds. Located in the Black Hills National Forest, the park is surrounded by pine and aspen trees. RV sites have a long (60 foot minimum) gravel parking pad with at least 25 feet of grass between each site.

In addition to nine electric only RV sites, there are 62 RV sites with full hook-ups (30-/50-amp electric, on-site water and sewer). Amenities at each site include a picnic table and a grated fire pit. RVers have four levels of sites from which to choose:

  • Standard back-in sites are a minimum of 12 feet wide and will accommodate RVs up to 36 feet in length;
  • The only difference in the Deluxe sites is that the gravel back-in parking pad is a minimum of 70 feet in length;
  • In addition to being satellite friendly, back-in Premium sites have an even longer parking pad (minimum 80 feet) plus at least 30 feet of grass between sites;
  • The length of Pull-through sites ranges from a minimum of 70 feet up to 100 feet.

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We reserved a standard site at the Good Sam member total cost of $337.72 for our six night stay. We were assigned site 33 at check-in. The site was litter-free when we arrived and back-in parking was easy.

The uncovered wooden picnic table and fire pit with grate were clean and in good condition. A cluster of tall trees shaded the picnic area. (Nothing is permitted to be tied to or hung from the trees.) Although the site did have a slight side-to-side tilt, it wasn't very noticeable inside.


Site 33 at Custer's Gulch RV Park

Site 33 at Custer's Gulch RV Park

Broadcast TV was limited to a couple of public television stations. Although WiFi was advertised, the service was unreliable during our stay - even for basic searches. It was usually only very late in the evenings or very early in the mornings when we could connect to and use the WiFi service.


RV Hook-ups at Custer's Gulch Site 33

RV Hook-ups at Custer's Gulch Site 33

Our cell phone and data service while at the RV park was not reliable through either of our providers. We failed to get a signal at all with Verizon and, although we did have some limited success with T-Mobile, service was still virtually non-existent.

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Our Pick of the Best Campsites at Custer's Gulch RV Park

Our evening walks around the RV park gave us an opportunity to search for our favorite sites. Should we ever return to Custer's Gulch, we would request one of the following sites:
  • Sites 18 and 19 and Sites 22-26 (around the one-way loop) are more level. These seven sites are also well positioned to take advantage of afternoon shade.
  • Based on their angle, Sites 28 - 37 are also well shaded in the afternoon.

We won the weather jackpot during our visit! As we were staying put for six nights, we set up our canopy and enjoyed eating almost all of our meals (and even cooking some meals) outdoors - insect free. It was especially great to take advantage of a larger "living area" with two additional people traveling with us! The grassy area by our picnic table did slope downward, so we were able to move the table closer to our RV for a more level table surface.


Nicely Shaded Campsite 33

Nicely Shaded Campsite 33

Scott Flipping Blueberry-Pecan Pancakes for Breakfast

Scott Flipping Blueberry-Pecan Pancakes for Breakfast

Making Reservations at Custer's Gulch RV Park

Reserving tent and RV sites as well as cabins can be completed online for 1- 29 day stays. Reservations for monthly stays can be made via phone (800-531-5923 or 605-673-4647 or 605-717-7667). A 10% discount off of RV rates is available for Good Sam members.


Deluxe Camping Cabins

Deluxe Camping Cabins

A one-night deposit is due when reservations are made for stays of up to 14 days. Longer stays require a $250.00 deposit. The remaining balance for all stays is due 30 days before arrival.

Standard reservations must be cancelled at least 14 days in advance to receive all but a $50.00 cancellation fee. Longer term stays require a 30 day cancellation notice and will incur a $100.00 fee if cancelled. In order to reduce our planned drives on several of our days in the Black Hills, we shortened our reservation from 9 days to 6 days. Our original reservation was made online. Immediately upon requesting the change to our reservation via phone, an updated invoice was forwarded with no cancellation or other fees due.

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What's There To Do Near Custer's Gulch RV Park?

Due to its central location, Custer, South Dakota is an excellent home base for visitors to the Black Hills. Don't miss our upcoming article titled "8 Must Sees Within 1 Hour of Custer, SD". In addition to Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, you'll find five additional attractions that you won't want to miss!

Camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota

What's your favorite place to camp in South Dakota's Black Hills?



Amazing Week at the Gulch in Custer, SD







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