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“The Best of All Worlds in South Dakota”

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Lodge at Palmer Gulch
Ranked #11 of 12 Hotels in Hill City
Olean, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The Best of All Worlds in South Dakota”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2011

When looking for a place in the center of things in the Black Hills of South Dakota, look no further than Palmer Gulch KOA. My wife (not a camper) and myself (camper) both enjoyed the upscale camping environment without the need to drag (and pay) for a camper. We stayed in the Lodge that had everything you would want complete with in-room fridge, private balcony, morning breakfast, two swimming pools, pub, wine tasting, and morning pancake breakfast with the campers. The location is central to Mount Rushmore (5 min. away), Sturgis (30 min. away), Deadwood, and also rapid city. Custer State park is also just down the road and a great place to see nature and have a picnic. It is also an easy day's drive to Cody, WY. or Red Lodge if you are looking to visit Yellowstone Park.

We recommend the evening lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore and take the shuttle bus to save on the parking fees. Also make sure to have breakfast under the pancake tent to get that little feel of camping.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank kfwelch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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174 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
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English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2011

My family and I stayed at the Lodge and made use of the kid's activities. While the kids had a blast, we did not enjoy our rooms. They were dated and musty. They really need to make use of the slow season and do some renovations! The screen door to the balcony was torn letting bugs in, the bathroom was by far the worse I had seen in a long time. There was mold and water stains all over the ceiling of the shower and the bathtub did not look like it had seen a good scrubbing for a while. There were cracks in the toilet seat and rust looking stains on the sink vanity. The pullout couch that my daughter stayed on had holes in the cushions and the mattress was worn. The room may have been cleaned, but you just didn't get that feeling walking in. On the plus side, the property has so many things to do (horseback riding, Fiddlesticks park for kids, waterslide) that I wouldn't rule out staying here again .... but only if I am camping and not staying in the Lodge. Also, the staff were extremely helpful and pleasant, it's just a shame about the rooms.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Amylass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Hill City hotels

Minneapolis MN
Level Contributor
35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2011

We rented a 3 BR executive cabin at Palmer Gulch Resort. Pricey but our 3 adult children and their families could all stay in same cabin with us. Because of large yard, fire pit and large deck, our cabin was the place our family group gathered. One night I cooked for 44 family members all staying at the resort. The kitchen wasn't as equipped as it should have been but we made do. I also disliked not having fresh towel service because with so many extended family visitors, including other people's kids bathing in our cabin, we ran out of towels. I drove to the Lodge and complained and they gave me add'l towels on the spot. They should have for the price we paid. The activities provided for kids are great. The adults in our group loved the furnished wood for the fire pit and we had s'mores every night. The restaurant food was good. We were too busy with our family group to use much of the facility but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and being with our family group.

Room Tip: executive cabin can hold a lot of people comfortably
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lindak1221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
112 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2011

The Lodge at Palmer Gulch is part of the Palmer Gulch KOA, which includes RV sites, camping sites, and cabins. Our family reunion was held here. My husband and I stayed at the lodge, which was OK. We had a room with a small balcony, which was pleasant. There is a continental breakfast, made up of bagels, juice and cereal that is complimentary for those staying at the Lodge. Overall, the Lodge experience is adequate---nothing fancy---at $165 a night. The Ponderosa Restaurant breakfast was somewhat greasy (deep-fried hash browns), and we didn't try it for any other meals. Other members of the family stayed in the cabins. If you are there in the summer, make sure you get a cabin with air conditioning. It is my understanding that some of them don't have A/C, and that would be horrible. There is a lot to do if you are a family. There is a swimming pool, a place for tubing, rentals for golf carts ($40 a day) and ATVs ($400 a day), horse-back riding, etc. There is a great view of Harney Peak from the campground and it is relatively close to Mount Rushmore. This place can get pretty jammed, and you definitely will not feel like you are out in the wilderness.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank poodytat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winter Park
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2011

We are getting ready to check out today and we are going to miss this place and the area. The lodge is clean, friendly, and has plenty for the kids to do. No, this is not the Ritz, or the Four Seasons, but for a no frills great place this is it! We had the two double premier room which gave us plenty of space for my family. Two adults and two kids. We were hardly here so it didnt matter to us how large the room was, but it is still big enough to relax and unwind in. The lodge sits above the camping area and camping cabins. We drove through the camping area and people were having a great time! Campfires, kids on bikes, ATV's, corn hole being played, just an all around great time being had by all. This KOA also has a restaurant, pub, and little shops for pizza, wings, espressos, fudge, etc. We ate at the Ponderosa one night and I ordered it to go....it was quite good and while I was waiting I sat outside on the patio and enjoyed Fat Tire bottled beer for $2.75!!!! It was Fat Tire Friday.....unbelievable price for that type of beer. I believe they have a daily happy hour as well. They have two pools, water park, horse back riding....they have it all.

The location couldn't be better. 10 min. to Rushmore and 15 to Keystone. 5 min to Hill City (go to Alpine Inn for $8.95 filet mignon) and close to Custer State Park to the south and Rapid City to the north.

We loved it here and hope to return in the future! Thank you Palmer Gulch!

  • Stayed July 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jason F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2011

The Lodge is part of a large campground complex, but it is hardly roughing it. The rooms are nice and quite clean although not luxurious. The staff are very friendly and helpful, really the best part of the experience. There are number of things to do at the campground including pools, a small waterslide and hot tubs, which are nice, but not always perfectly clean. Actually the outside hot tub had a distinct green tint to it. The restaurant is a bit pricey and the service is better than the food which is just average. Try the pancake tent for breakfast which is fun and good. The location is excellent, mere minutes from Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Hill City, Keystone and Custer State Park. One note, some of our family had to spend one night in the row cabins and they were less than impressive. Stick with the Lodge.

Room Tip: Avoid the row cabins, stay in the Lodge. The larger rooms with balconies are worth the extra cost.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank colobrad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota City, Minnesota
Level Contributor
97 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2011

This place is a zoo. Seems like there are 500+ sites and they are all packed pretty close together. Your best bet is to try to get a place in the “woods” (west?) area as opposed to the flat parking lot areas where most of the big RV rigs are located. The woods can accommodate smaller RVs, tent trailers, tents, and have a fair number of Kamper Kabins. There is also a secluded area on the far (east?) side of the small creek that provides more remote sites, but which is still accessible to all the perks. We had the small Kamper Kabin, which is really too small for a family of four and their gear. There are larger two-room Kamper Kabins that would have been better for 4+ people, but we changed from a tent to a Kabin at the last minute when we saw the forecast called for thunderstorms. There was a major storm event while we were there (marble sized hail, 4 inches of rain) and the Kabin held up but many people’s tents did not.

This is a very popular place for families and family reunions. Many “free” things for the kids to do (pools, jumping pillow, miniature golf, splash pad, small water slide, giant chess/checkers board, horseshoes). The Ponderosa restaurant is on site, and has excellent food at reasonable prices, and it wasn’t that heavily used since I think most people eat in their RVs. The All you can eat pancakes tent for $2.50 is a good deal. Very nice staff.

If you are an RVer and a social person, go here. If you are a tenter, or prefer peace and quiet, I think you would have a much nicer time at one of the Forest Service or Custer State Park campgrounds. Sites are bigger and much more private at those locations, and about a third of the cost.

Room Tip: Best sites are along the small stream
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank auroraclubjazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lodge at Palmer Gulch

Property: Lodge at Palmer Gulch
Address: 12620 Highway 244, Hill City, SD 57745-8902
Location: United States > South Dakota > Hill City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 12 Hotels in Hill City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Lodge at Palmer Gulch 2*
Number of rooms: 62
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whether exploring the spectacular views of Mount Rushmore National Park, hiking through Custer State Park, climbing Harney Peak, or enjoying the day at Sylvan Lake, the Lodge at Palmer Gulch mixes the adventure and relaxation of the outdoors with the convenience of resort style accommodations:∙ 62 lodge rooms∙ 20 full-service private cabins∙ 10 row cabin duplex rooms∙ 6 executive lodges∙ 3 meeting facilities. We also offer fine dining, shopping, and family friendly itineraries! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Lodge At Palmer Gulch Hotel Hill City
Hotel At Palmer Gulch
At Palmer Gulch Hotel

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