South Dakota RV Camping – Wall
Free RV Camping – Wall, South Dakota
Free dispersed RV camping (boondocking) is available throughout the Buffalo Gap National Grassland south of Wall. This recommended free RV camping location near Wall is one of our Featured Campgrounds.
Buffalo Gap is one of 3 national grasslands administered by the Nebraska National Forest. It borders Badlands National Park and the Pine Ridge Reservation, and offers RV camping locations with spectacular scenery.
Wall and Buffalo Gap National Grassland RV Camping Location
Located 55 miles east of Rapid City, the closest town to our recommended RV camping location is Wall (6.4 miles). Wall was established along the railroad in 1907, and has a population of just over 800. The town got it’s name from the geologic formation of spires and washes that formed a difficult barrier to early day travel. All RV facilities are available in Wall including food, fuel, propane, RV dump station, water, laundry and more. The National Grassland Visitor Center located on main street has official maps and more information. Wall Drug is another popular tourist attraction. This historic enterprise offered “Free Ice Water” to attract hot travelers in the old days, and you can still get free ice water, and wander around the museum like store and soda fountain.
The free RV camping site is located 6.4 miles south of Wall along highway 240. As you approach the turnoff onto the grasslands, you will see radio antenna towers on your left. The access road to the grasslands has a gate across it, and should be left closed. We found it easiest to stop along highway 240, and open the gate before turning onto public lands. This road is also the access road to the radio equipment and towers.
The road surface could be tricky under wet conditions, and we wouldn’t recommend this location during wet weather. This area doesn’t get a lot of moisture though, so weather related access issues should be few and far between. As you pass the radio towers on your left, you will see the road along “The Wall”, and you can camp anywhere you wish.
One final view of the campsite is presented on this 3D Google Earth view looking southwest. The question mark in the center of the photo is the Badlands National Park entrance station, and the corresponding line shows the border of the park. In the lower right hand corner of the photo, you can see a dead-end road with 2 light colored buildings. These buildings are located next to radio towers.
Free RV Camping Location Description and Photos
As you turn off highway 240 onto the grasslands, the view ahead of you spreads out quickly north and south. The prairie grassland is solid in all but the wettest conditions, and this camping location is suitable for any size RV as there is ample room for numerous RVs, as well as wide open country to get turned around.
Campfires are usually permitted, but a firepan is recommended to help reduce campfire impact. When we camped here, there was no evidence of previous campfires, and there was only one other vehicle camped along the rim with us.
The following photo shows where the town of Wall got it’s name. This geologic formation is called “The Wall”. Temperature ranges for this part of South Dakota are -40 to 114 F. Spring and Fall are the best time to camp in this area in our opinion, but if you are summer traveling and temperatures are comfortable, this is a great place too.
This area is rich in fossil beds, and is known as the birthplace of Paleontology, the study of fossils. While no dinosaur fossils are found in this area, a wide range of early mammal, bird, plant, and sea fossils have been discovered. There are current scientific digs going on in Badlands National Park, and we hope you will take the time to visit this unusual area of South Dakota.