Situated in an open Ponderosa pine forest 6.5 miles west of Custer, South Dakota, Comanche Park Campground is a nice setting for visitors seeking recreation and relaxation in the Black Hills National Forest. The campsites are spacious. Towering pine trees provide shade, though campers will find some sites offer little privacy from neighbors. Traffic noise from a nearby road can be heard. This is the closest campground to Jewel Cave.
Comanche Park Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs. The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water; however, electrical hook-ups are not available.
Possible day trips include Jewel Cave National Monument, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument and Wind Cave National Park.
Located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, Black Hills National Forest encompasses nearly 1.25 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves. Derived from the Lakota language, the words "Paha Sapa," meaning "hills that are black," honor the dark, pine-covered hills rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie. Nearby Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world at 159.29 miles. It features sparkling calcite crystals and other rare formations, as well as some of the largest concentrations of passageways in the world. Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate mountainous terrain, while elk, deer and pronghorn gather in forests and prairies. Bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcon, and hundreds of other bird species can be found in the forest, especially along streams, lakes and rivers.
The forest offers highly accessible recreation for all ages. Visitors can take advantage of opportunities for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on moderate terrain. The Centennial Trail between Alkali Creek Trailhead and the Dalton Lake Trailhead, as well as the area between Pilot Knob Trailhead and the Rapid Creek Trailhead are favorites in the area among mountain bikers. For those seeking higher elevations, a day-long trek to the summit of nearby Harney Peak is worth the effort. Harney Peak is the highest natural point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the summit is bare granite and offers expansive views of the surrounding area. An old stone tower at the top, once used as a fire lookout, is still open to hikers.
BLACK HILLS, , SD