Best Winter Camping
For truly adventurous nature lovers, exploring the great outdoors is a year-round vocation. Long after the tamer tourists have retreated to warmer climates, winter campers linger to experience another side of South Dakota. From pristine, white-capped mountains to ice-glazed branches to frozen lakes and streams, winter is an idyllic and strikingly beautiful season in this picturesque state. Winter camping affords a quieter, more tranquil atmosphere, with very light foot traffic (unless you count the animal tracks through the snow). Cold-season campers stay warm by indulging in a variety of seasonal recreational activities, including cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.
If you can handle the cold and wind, there are plenty of great winter camping opportunities in South Dakota. Below are a few of our favorite areas:
Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System
With more than 4,000 square miles of snowy terrain, the Black Hills is a mecca for avid showshoers. Consistently rated one of the top 15 trails by SnoWest Magazine, the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System provides 350 miles of well-maintained snow trails that wind through lush forests. After a day of exploration, set up camp along the trail and take advantage of restaurants and convenience centers.
Newton Hills State Park
A picturesque paradox that offers rolling meadow vistas and pine-covered mountains, this popular tourist destination is a prime site for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and bird watching during pristine winter months. Campers can hunker down with their choice of 125 campsites and three heated camping cabins.
Oakwood Lakes State Park
With 2.6 miles of well-maintained skiing and snowshoeing trails, Oakwood Lakes combines high-energy outdoor recreation with tranquil relaxation. Home to eight glacial lakes, it’s a haven for ice fishers. An abundance of family-friendly outdoor events, including ski runs, fishing derbies, and ski races, are open to campers throughout the winter. 69 campsites and heated camping cabins are available.