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“This is one awsome Campground” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground

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Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground
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12325 Rafter J-Bar Road, Hill City, SD 57745   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Severance
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“This is one awsome Campground”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

This Campground is very highly rated in the Woodalll's top 100 and you can see why! Super well kept campground. lots of open space to roam and plenty of room between RV's to not feel cramped. the amenities are plentiful including a gas station, large store, basketball and volley ball courts, great pool and hot tub and super pancake breakfast every morning for only $2.50. check out their website for more details. great experience and reasonably priced for that area in prime season!

Room Tip: This is a Campground but they do have many cabins you can rent.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    96
    29
    10
    3
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, England
Top Contributor
296 reviews 296 reviews
165 hotel reviews
Reviews in 204 cities Reviews in 204 cities
281 helpful votes 281 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

This is an large and very pleasant RV camp on an extremely large site. Reserving a spot was easy, check-in was handled very perfunctorily by the staff at reception who gave the impression that they could not care less and that their conversations with each other were more important. Their instructions for finding our pitch were less than adequate and they had no idea what was in the RV shop. The pitch was gravel adjacent to grass in the midst of pine trees and the tracks leading to the pitches were a bit muddy because of recent rain. Traffic noise on the nearby road was very noticeable and annoying (in the Main Camp area) during the day but not a problem at night, I suspect that the Ranch Camp being further from the road would be quieter. We could not get any TV reception. Although there was wifi, we could not get it to usefully work and neither could anyone else in our area. Washing and drying was $3.50 per load. There seems to be plenty for children to do around the camp. Although this RV Camp was voted one of the Woodalls top 100, for the price we paid, this RV camp was disappointing.

Room Tip: try to get a pitch a long way away from the road - daytime noise is a nuisance.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

Overall great experience for us. Everyone's mileage will vary based upon your own attitude, circumstances, etc. But I can tell you we had no contact with rude staff in the week that we spent there. That being said, here's what we really liked. Very central location to all of the attractions. Very scenic and beautiful campground. Nice pool and playground for the kids. The all-you-eat pancake breakfast was great. That campground was quiet during our entire stay. Only downside with our site in particular was it was very sloped, but on the upside the kids loved riding their bikes down the slope and around the campground.

I wouldn't hesitate to go back, they certainly do a great job at maintaining the grounds and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile

We loved being among the pines, but our camping area was so tight with trees that I had to be parked exactly perfect to open my canopy. Didn't need the canopy for shade, more for rain & hail. During our 2-day/3-night stay I also assisted 2 5th wheels get into their tight spots, taking about a half hour each. One was 29' and the other 35'. Our motorhome is 32' with no tow. Another trailer 2 spots over clipped his canopy & the right rear corner of his unit on a tree by the road while getting to his site. It's suppose to be about enjoying your stay not stressing on how to get in.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Ames, Nebraska, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

What a great place to camp lots of room, quiet, wonderful views The grounds were amazing they were bailing hay when we were there (kind of cool) The location is good. We loved our stay and will do it again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Prospect, KY
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

Loved this place! SO SCENIC! We tent camped there a couple of weeks ago, and had the BEST experience of any campground on our three week camping adventure out west. And the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is so cute! Every campground should be this amazing!!!!!!!

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Minnesota
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We have camped at Rafter J twice now. We loved it both times and never encountered issues like the few bad ones that I've read in some reviews. I'm not sure what that means - we were lucky or what, but we won't hesitate to stay again.
The campground has 5 distinct areas and each is different than the other - style and even the campers themselves. Given that, I think that any camper or rv'er could find an option to suit their style of camping here. Two of the areas are very close to the store/pool/playground and I think at least one (main camp?) has satellite available where other areas don't.
We like the remoteness and more quiet side of the Island area. Main camp and Base camp are busy, active areas. Upper ranch camp and lower ranch camp seems to be a mix of some busy yet those that want to be either remote or in the forest.
There are comments on cost, but in reality if you add up the amount of money it must take for the owners to maintain this place as is (and that's why we like it), the cost is probably understandable. It reminds us of some of the state campground camping we've done at much less cost, but those are greatly subsidized with tax money. We stayed for 7 nights and paid over $400 total (can't recall the exact amount right now). The great pool, our great site, the nice grounds, location and other onsite activities are worth it to us. An easy zip up to Sylvan Lake for hiking or some lake swimming. You can see Harney Peak perfectly from the campground. It's easy to do Keystone/Mount Rushmore, too. Sheridan Lake, day trip to Angostura. It's directly on the bike trail. The options are pretty much endless.
They treat the gravel so there isn't a dust storm every time someone drives by. Site amenities are easy to hook up to (at least where we were). Sites are gravel, depending on camping area sites may be pretty flat or not. Our site was flat for the camper, but you "step down" to the fire pit area. Some people bring toys - ATVs, boats, etc... The campground doesn't seem to mind the extra trailers being stored on ground nearby. For the most part the ground withstands a fair amount of abuse - must be the dry weather because in wetter areas I'm sure it would be a mud pit or simply destroyed grass areas.
Each morning I see workers taking care of the grounds, maintaining the pool, etc... The only minor thing for us is that despite my calling twice to discuss that we would be really late arriving, the nighttime security was not aware we would be showing up in the middle of the night. The person I spoke to the day we were to arrive did say that security would escort us to our site so we were a little surprised security didn't know. Still, that went ok. We had booked a specific site and after talking with security briefly they went to check the reservation as we proceeded to our site. They came back and held lights while we backed quickly into our site and then crawled into bed. We checked in early the next morning and that was it.
While my family prefers state parks, this private campground is on par with those. We feel comfortable there and can enjoy our activities without issue. We've recommended this campground to friends. One stayed in a cabin last year and loved it! We have other friends going in August (they are repeat customers). See ya next year Rafter J!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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
Location: United States > South Dakota > Hill City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 11 Specialty 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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