Avoid the hottest part of the day and take a refreshing afternoon dip in the cool waters of a lake, reservoir or swimming pool during your Black Hills’ summer vacation.
The Black Hills region is known for its hot summer temperatures, so escape to a nearby lake or pool and enjoy designated swimming areas and sandy beaches replete with picnic tables, playgrounds and volleyball courts. Black Hills National Forest features 11 reservoirs, most of which are open to swimming and other water sports. State Parks and Recreational Areas also provide swimming opportunity.
Where To Go Swimming
Black Hills National Forest:
11 reservoirs open for recreational use, with the following three featuring designated swimming beaches:
Pactola Reservoir :
Location - 19 miles west of Rapid City, SD. Highlights: Beautiful mountain lake with picnic area, marina, nearby campground, visitors center and B&Bs.
Location – 18 miles west of Rapid City, SD, just off HWY 385 S. Highlights – Swim beach, marina, campground, boat launch and hiking trails.
Location – East of Rapid City and HWY 385, just off Forest Road 255. Highlights – Ponderosa forests, hiking trails and campground.
Location – 10 miles southeast of Hot Springs, SD. Highlights: Pristine waters and one of the best natural sandy beaches in the region, with volleyball courts and picnic area. 66° average summer water temperature.
Custer State Park:
Cruise Needles Highway or Wildlife Loop Road, hike or bike ride down one of the trails, and then spend the hottest part of the day splashing in one of these five lakes, all open to swimming: Center Lake, Legion Lake, Stockade Lake, Sylvan Lake, Game Lodge Pond.
Shade Hill Recreation Area:
Location - Off Summerville Road, near Lemmon, SD. Highlights - One swimming beach with volleyball court, play ground and picnic area.