Tuesday ยท February 13, 2024
Discover the Sacred Beauty of Bear Butte State Park Camp
Author: Admin
Bear Butte State Park Camp in South Dakota | Top Horse Trails

Mato Paha, more commonly known as Bear Butte, rises majestically from the South Dakota landscape, its ancient igneous rock formation a testament to the geological wonders of the Black Hills. Revered by many Native American tribes, this site holds profound spiritual significance as a place of prayer, vision quests, and religious ceremonies.

A Sacred Site

To the Lakota people, Bear Butte is Mato Paha, while the Cheyenne refer to it as Noahvose. This sacred mountain is believed to be a place where the creator communicates with individuals through visions and prayer. As you explore the area, you'll encounter colorful prayer cloths and tobacco ties hanging from trees, representing the prayers and offerings made by worshippers. It's essential to respect these sacred items and the religious practices of those who come here to seek guidance and spiritual connection.

Embrace the Spiritual Journey

Bear Butte State Park Camp offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Native American tribes who hold this land sacred. As you hike the trails and witness the natural beauty that surrounds you, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the profound connection between nature and spirituality.

Respect and Reverence

While visiting Bear Butte State Park Camp, it's crucial to show respect for the religious practices of others. Keep noise to a minimum, refrain from disturbing prayer offerings, and follow all park rules and regulations. By approaching this site with reverence and an open heart, you'll not only enrich your own experience but also honor the traditions of the Native American people who consider Bear Butte a sacred place.

Plan Your Visit

If you're ready to embark on a spiritual journey unlike any other, plan your visit to Bear Butte State Park Camp today. Experience the tranquility of this sacred site, connect with nature, and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the Native American tribes who continue to hold Bear Butte in reverence.



Located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis off SD Highway 79


Bear Butte State Park Camp offers the following facilities and amenities:

  • ADA/Accessible Features
  • Boat Ramp(s)
  • Campground(s)
  • Fishing Pier(s)
  • Group Picnic Shelter(s)
  • Hiking Trail(s)
  • Historical Site(s)
  • Horse Campsite(s)
  • Horse Trail(s)
  • Self-serve Entrance Kiosk(s)
  • Shore Fishing Access
  • Tent-only Campsite(s)
  • Vault Toilets (open year-round)
  • Visitor Center(s)


Cost Details:

  • Daily: $8 per vehicle
  • Annual: $36 first vehicle | $18-second vehicle (with coupon) | $80 transferable license
  • Campsites - non-electrical: $11 per night
  • Horse Camp: $18 per night



  • Open: Year-round. Between Oct. 1 and April 30, flush toilets and other water systems may be closed. Please contact the park directly for current status. Vault toilets usually remain open.
  • Park Size: 15 non-electric campsites, 4 non-electric horse campsites, and middle camp non-electric campsites; available on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Nearest Town: Sturgis
  • Contact Details: 605-347-5240 and Email: BearButte@state.sd.us 


Park Rules:

  • Pets are not allowed on the Summit Trail. It is too narrow to safely accommodate a hiker and pets. Pets may be taken across Highway 79 to the horse camp area and allowed to exercise while on a leash.
  • Please stay on the trail and respect those participating in religious activities. Do not disturb or photograph prayer clothes and tobacco ties.
  • A buffalo herd roams the base of the butte. Buffalo is dangerous, please do not approach.
  • Horseback riding is allowed west of Highway 79 ONLY. Riders can use the Centennial Trail west of the horse camp.
  • Possession or consumption of alcohol at Bear Butte State Park east of Highway 79 is prohibited. Bear Butte is a sacred site for many people and will be respected as such.
  • Leaving human remains (ashes) at Bear Butte State Park is prohibited. Bear Butte is not a burial site and is not to be treated as one.
  • Uncased firearms or bows are prohibited at Bear Butte year-round east of Highway 79. This reduces danger and disturbance to those who gather at the site to worship.


If you want to discover and explore other campsites and horse trails, here are some of them that you may visit:

SD - Centennial Trail

Fort Meade to Alakai

Sturgis hills

Bear Butte SD


Bear Butte State Park Camp does not require reservations for overnight accommodations. Please visit their page here on Top Horse Trails - Bear Butte State Park Camp for more information