Open Mid-May
thru Mid-Oct
Open Mid-May thru Mid-Oct

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Pactola Reservoir

Pactola Reservoir

As the largest and deepest reservoir in western South Dakota, Pactola Reservoir is a hotspot for individuals and families looking to cut loose and enjoy a relaxing day on the water. Located a short 20 minute drive north of the Powder House Lodge, the lake boasts a sandy swim beach, three boat launch locations and two campgrounds surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills National Forest. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the outdoors, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for at Pactola Reservoir.


  • Bicycling
  • Boating – Three launch locations on site for motorized and non-motorized boat use. Pontoons, fishing boats and canoes are available for rent at the full-service marina.
  • Fishing – Trout (rainbow, brown and lake) and pike available. Popular winter destination for ice-fishing. Excellent fly-fishing opportunities are available below the dam. An ADA accessible fishing path is provided on north shore.
  • Hiking – Two trails available for day use: Osprey Trailhead and Veterans Point Trailhead.
  • Scuba Diving
  • Water Skiing

Amenities Offered

  • Campground – Contains 83 non-electric camping sites located in an open air ponderosa pine forest. The Bear Gulch campground offers group camping for up to 60.
  • Full Service Marina - Offers groceries, gas, boat rentals, showers and more.
  • Picnic Areas – Three areas available for day use: Pactola Point, Jenney Gulch and Veterans Point.
  • Visitor Center – Located on the south side of the dam, the National Forest Service Visitor Center is open seasonally and offers information about the reservoir and surrounding areas.

Fun Facts

  • Pactola Reservoir provides water for the Rapid City metro area.
  • A mining town called Pactola used to sit where the reservoir now resides. Most of the buildings were destroyed before the dam was constructed, but the Civilian Conservation Corp camp dynamite bunker is still submerged in the water.
  • The lake offers 14 miles of shoreline for boating, fishing and swimming.

So, whether you plan on lounging on the beach with drink in hand, or are looking for an adventurous outdoor activity like waterskiing, Pactola Reservoir is a premier Black Hills destination that is a must during your next stay at the Powder House Lodge. While you’re planning for your next family vacation, add a visit to your itinerary along with other area attractions for a well-rounded outing everyone is sure to love.

Pennington County, SD

Hours of Operation

Open Year-Round

Location and Contact Information

Black Hills National Forest

West Pennington, SD 57702

Entrance Fees

Daily - $6 a day per vehicle
Campground fees vary