Come October in the Western states, a lot of things shut down for the winter like Forest Service campgrounds and recreational sites. When I discovered that Rocky Point SRA located in Belle Fourche, SD between Billings and the Black Hills was still open, I prayed for an opening. Turns out there were plenty.
Belle Fourche means “beautiful fork” and the Belle Fourche River is important to Indian mythology. The Sioux traded each year at the foot of Bear Butte. Sweet Medicine, a Cheyenne leader, received sacred instructions for tribal laws while staying in a cave there. Today the town includes about 6,700 residents and retains some semblance to its days as a gold mining town.
The wind was roaring at 30 mph with bigger gusts by the time I pulled up to the fee booth. The booth was unattended, so I called an 800 number for the South Dakota reservation system and paid $20.50 per night via credit card. There was an additional day entry fee of $4 (exact change or check only). An electric only site was assigned to me for 2 nights. A dump station with potable water was available near the entrance.
The campground is located on the banks of a large reservoir with boat dock in different section with nearby campsites. Mine was on a loop that had great views of the water, surrounding a green lawn with pavilion, pit toilets and playground.
There were only 2 other RVs parked in this section and wind was crazy up there, so I chose a different site, parking perpendicular to the gusts and phoned the reservation line to make the change. It was nice to have electric and run the space heater with nighttime weather in the low 30’s.
There was no wi-fi, and I got 3 bars of Verizon cell service with 1x or 3G data. Surprisingly, there were a few FM radio stations that came in. After 6 months sans music in Yellowstone, it was nice to have a little company on a blustery night via the radio. Miss Georgia heard people “talking in the ceiling” and tried to climb up there to find them.
The next day I checked into Custer State Park and discovered my $20 entrance fee for up to 7 days would have waived the $8 I’d already paid at Rocky Point SRA, if I’d been traveling in the opposite direction. Oh well. It was still a great place to stop and wait out the wind.