French Creek Horse Camp: Custer South Dakota

Cabin at French Creek Horse Camp

Cabin at French Creek Horse Camp

If you have never been, this horse-only campground in Custer South Dakota is a must. A group of us reserved space at this stunning campground in 2014, and had to reschedule last year (VS outbreak) to go in 2015. Yes that’s right, if you want a space for your rig and/or a small cabin with bunks you need to think ahead at this lovely campground.

You can arrive into the campground from two directions, and it is about a 6 hour drive from Boulder County. We headed up I-25 to Lusk and then North to South Dakota— it’s a pretty easy haul. Having had a late start we came in at dark. Winding through Custer State Park we passed a couple of buffalo off to the side of the road—they a big fellas. The stone work on the winding bridge roads is magical. We arrived at the campground around 9 PM got the horses quickly settled and tucked ourselves in, all excited about the next days adventure.

Lunch stop in meadow

Lunch stop in meadow

French Creek is one of the loveliest places I have camped with horses. There is power to all sites, vaulted toilets throughout the camp, and one of the cleanest bath houses I have ever been in. Horses have pen groups placed near the rig sites and how easy is this—shovel your manure out the back side and they come by with a backhoe and place the manure in a large disposal carrier. Weed free hay is required and a water trolley is a good idea for moving water from the spigots or your trailer.

Bridge crossing near camp

Bridge crossing near camp

Trails are plentiful off the grounds, so no need to haul out once you have arrived. French Creek runs through the campground and trails head out in multiple directions into lovely forests. The French Creek trail has over 30 water crossings and is one of the prettiest trails I have ever been on.  Other trails can be more challenging with climbing, or settle in on some less demanding trails. For something different do a breakfast ride and tie your horses up outside at the Blue Bell Lodge.

Earlier in the week, before our arrival, a lone male buffalo meandered into camp and stirred things up. As for siting one or a few, unhitch and head down the road to see a few for yourself near the Buffalo Corrals. We unhitched and did the amazing road to Mt. Rushmore—what an architectural feat. You can also go into the town of Custer and shop, visit Crazy Horse, or Wind Caves National Park. There is so much to do in this horse-friendly state—just go!

For reservations plan well in advance.
Click here for information on Horse Camps in South Dakota.
Click here for information on French Creek Horse Camp.

-Linda P


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