The Sage Creek Campground in Badlands National Park is one of two front country campgrounds in the park.
I personally would consider Sage Creek to be much more of a primitive camping experience compared to Cedar Pass Campground (main campground in the park) due to its proximity to park attractions and amenities.
The Sage Creek area is a great spot for tent campers and people with horses and horse trailers to get away from the crowds, enjoy some solitude, or explore the backcountry.
Sage Creek Campground - Badlands National Park
Don't be surprised if you hear coyotes howling in the night. Also, don't expect Wi-Fi or cell phone reception, and no running water. Spring rains and winter snows can close the road temporarily.
The great news is that the campground is free camping and rarely fills up. We saw lots of prairie dogs in the campground and saw Bison roaming just outside this primitive campground.
If you are looking to get away from crowds and enjoy amazing night skies this is the campground for you!
Badlands National Park Entrance fee
Private Vehicle: $30
Per Person: $15
There is an entrance fee to enter Badlands National Park. Fees are listed below or you can choose to purchase your pass in advance through the link below.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per-vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation, and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Number of Sites: 22
Location in the park: Located on the west side of Badlands National Park
Campsite Cost: Sage Creek is a free campground so go ahead and enjoy your free campsite!
Pets Allowed: Pets are allowed only on paved or gravel roads and in developed areas such as campgrounds
Are Campground Reservations Available? No
Sage Creek is a First-Come First-Serve campground
The only amenities here is a picnic table and some have a cover for protection from the sun and wind.
Dump Station: No
Bear Boxes: No
Flush Toilets: the campground has vault toilets
Is Wi-Fi available? No
Is Cellular Phone Service Available? No
Is the camp host available on-site? No
Is firewood available for purchase? No
Amenities at each campsite: Covered picnic table and pit toilet
Fire rings in the site? No, Camp stoves or contained charcoal grills are OK but due to fire danger, campfires are not permitted in this campground, and collection of wood is prohibited.
Picnic Table in the site? Yes, the campground has picnic tables
Potable Water? No water. You may fill up at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
RV Camping at Sage Creek Campground
Motor homes, pull-behind trailers, and other recreational vehicles greater than 18 feet in length are prohibited.
RV Length: 18 feet
Generators: Generators are not permitted
How to get to Campground
Sage Creek Campground is located on the west side of Badlands National Park on the Sage Creek Rim Road.
This is a 12-mile dirt road just east of the Pinnacles Overlook. The road turns east between the Pinnacles Overlook and the Pinnacles Entrance Station and is a slow drive as the gravel road can be rutted and/or wash boarded.
The maximum number of people in a campsite: 6
The number of cars per campsite: 2 cars are allowed per site and trailers count as one vehicle. The parking lots are large with plenty of room.
Checkout time: 12 noon
Quiet Hours: 10 pm-6 am
The campground limit is 10 consecutive days.
Wildlife in and around Sage Creek Campground
Local wildlife includes an active Prairie Dog colony (Prairie Dog Town) near the entrance to the Sage Creek Campground. Be careful walking and make sure to check for prairie dog holes and divets in the ground.
Don't forget your camera as the prairie dogs are fun to photograph!
There is also lots of Bison throughout the park and Sage Creek is no exception. Just remember this if you are tent camping, you may just open your tent to something a little bigger than the prarie dogs!
A portion of the Sage Creek Campground is designated for horse use. A watering hole known as CCC Spring is located ½ mile southwest of the campground. Hitching posts are provided.
Riders must provide weed-free hay or pellets for feed. Horses should not be allowed to run free or be picketed in the campground. No fires are allowed except in contained grills.
For a fun adventure, check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built-in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Interested in a Guided Tour?
There are a couple of really cool guided tours available in Badlands Natl Park.
Badlands NP Private Tour - Enjoy a private tour of the park and stop at famous features including a stop at Wall, South Dakota. Learn about the history of the area and spend the day discovering the rare geology of the Badlands.
Badlands Tour with Minuteman Missile NHS - Travel to Badlands National Park and explore this spectacular terrain on a full-day guided tour. Catch a glimpse of America's nuclear arsenal during the Cold War and learn about its history with your expert guide.
Badlands Bike Tour with Lunch - Join a bike tour of Badlands National Park. Cycle around the park and learn its history from your experienced guide. Admire the spectacular scenery and wildlife as you pedal.
Additional Lodging near the park
Best Western Plains Motel - Free continental breakfast, an arcade/game room, and a gym are just a few of the amenities provided at Best Western Plains Motel. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. In addition to a business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Econo Lodge Wall - free to-go breakfast and more. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Super 8 by Wyndham Wall - free to-go breakfast and a business center. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
America's Best Value Inn Wall - free continental breakfast, a free daily manager's reception, and laundry facilities. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as a bar and a gym.
Days Inn by Wyndham Wall - free to-go breakfast, laundry facilities, and a gym at Days Inn by Wyndham Wall. Free in-room Wi-Fi and conference space are available to all guests.
Click on the map below to see additional vacation rental and lodging options near the park.
Additional Information about Badlands National Park
Complete guide to Badlands National Park - Everything you will need to know to plan a trip to Badlands National Park
Things to do Badlands National Park - Gide to the top activities/attractions in Badlands National Park including scenic drives, visitor centers, sunrise/sunset locations, and more!
Hiking in Badlands National Park - The Badlands has plenty of trails to choose from. Make sure to read my guide to the most popular trails in Badlands National Park including the Notch Trail, Window Trail, Door Trail, Fossil Exhibit Trails, and more!
Additional Parks near Badlands National Park
There are several National Park Sites located in the Black Hills of South Dakota making it one of the best All-American Road Trips in America! Listed below are other parks to visit and camping options:
Wind Cave National Park - America's first National Park set aside specifically for protecting a cave
Custer State Park - Consistently listed as one of America's top 10 State Parks!