Palisades State Park Camping (South Dakota)

Palisades State Park

After our stay at Badlands National Park this past June, we headed East to Palisades State Park in South Dakota.  A few days beforehand, I looked into places to stay for this night.  We knew of a few places that we could stay for free, like the Cabella’s in Mitchel, SD.  The only thing that kept us from pulling in there for the night, was the weather.  It was forecast to be 95 degrees that day, so we knew stopping somewhere with electricity for the air conditioning was a must, as we travel with our dogs and cat.

Large fluffy black dog who would not have appreciated 95 with no A/C.
Second large fluffy dog who would have been even more upset about the heat.

When I stumbled upon Palisades State Park while searching for campgrounds, I knew we needed to check it out.  And I’m sure glad we did!


Palisades State Park is located in the town of Garretson, in Eastern South Dakota.  It is only 10 miles from Interstate 90, which made it an easy stop on our trip.

Palisades State Park is the second-smallest state park in South Dakota, at only 157 acres.

Sites and Amenities

This is not a very large campground, at only 35 campsites. That is not necessarily a bad thing.  Most of the sites are fairly level with a good amount of room and privacy, due to the park being heavily wooded.

Six cabins are available here also, if you want to have a nice relaxing stay without having to set up and break down your camping unit.

It is important to note that there is not a dump station at Palisades State Park.  There is, however, one located in town.  It is about 2 miles away, next to the Devil’s Gulch park entrance.

Ellie loved the playground.

One shower house with flush toilets, a picnic area, and 2 playgrounds are all situated throughout the campground.

Split Rock Creek flows through the state park, along several pink quartzite rock formations.  The 50 foot vertical cliffs are often used by rock climbers to practice their hobby.

For those interested in hiking, there are 4 trails that wind through the park.  These trails not the longest or most difficult trails ever, but the scenery sure is beautiful.

Even though it was raining, the river and rock formations are beautiful.


Reservations is the place to go to reserve your spot at Palisades State Park.  When I booked our campsite a week before our stay, there was only one site available in the whole campground.  So try and make your reservation in advance to make sure you get the spot you want!


Our Experience

We showed up to Palisades State Park on June 1st, got checked in by a very friendly young lady, and headed to campsite number 30.  Since it was the only site available, we figured that it was not going to be a very good spot.  We were, however, very surprised to find the exact opposite to be true.  The driveway was paved and the site was huge!

There was even a little trail that connected our site to the playground, which Ellie was very fond of.

The little trail leading to the playground.

The next morning we hiked down and along to Split Rock Creek, which was just as marvelous as we hoped it would be.

We only spent one night here, but we did enough hiking and walking around to see most of the campground.


Palisades State Park is one of the nicest state parks that we have stayed at.  What it lacks in size, it makes up for in uniqueness and beauty.

Our large, grassy campsite.

I would say that it is a definite must see if you are ever in the area.

Our only regret is that we were only able to stay for one night!



-Kyle G



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