Pactola Reservoir

Quick Facts

Pactola Reservoir

South Dakota

(605) 343-1567

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Pactola Reservoir is located 15 miles west of Rapid City. It is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills, boasting 14 miles of shoreline and 150 foot depths on 800 acres of water. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam and water. Record lake trout are caught each year. Large brown trout are caught in Rapid Creek above and below the reservoir. Facilities include a full service marina with seasonal, monthly and daily slips, gasoline, oil, groceries, food service, shower and laundry. Forest facilities include an 88-unit campground, a group campground, a swimming beach, picnic areas, two boat launches, a paved accessible trail, day use trails, and portions of both the Centennial and Deerfield trails. There is exceptional fly-fishing below the spillway. A national forest visitor center on the south side of the dam is open seasonally and provides visitors with information about the building of the dam and forest management.

Map of Pactola Reservoir

Latitude, Longitude: 44.074176, -103.520424

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Activities

  • Boating

    The Pactola Reservoir Complex has two boat launches and a marina. There are boat rentals at some of the campgrounds.

  • Bicycling

    The Osprey Trail is a 2.2-mile trail that includes two loop trails and a spur trail to an overlook. The trail was appropriately named because osprey are often seen in the Pactola Lake area. Osprey, also known as fish hawks, are fish-eating specialists, with live fish accounting for about 99 percent of their diet. Osprey are spectacular divers. Once they have sighted their prey, they fold their wings tightly, descend swiftly, and enter the water feet first, often submerging completely. Long sharp talons and barbed pads grip the slippery fish.

    The Osprey Trail trailhead is located on the southwest side of Pactola Lake.

  • Camping

    There are campgrounds around the reservoir. The Pactola Campground has 83 camping sites, including 4 accessible sites. The campground is located in an open ponderosa pine forest, adjacent to the reservoir. A marina is nearby. The Bear Gulch Campground is nestled among large ponderosa pine trees in a quiet canyon on the south side of Pactola Reservoir.

  • Fishing

    Visitors enjoy fishing in the lake. Pactola Lake provides the opportunity to fish for rainbow, brown, and lake trout. It is forbidden to drive vehicles or snowmobiles onto the frozen reservoir. The lake has opportunities for lake, river, and ice fishing.

  • Hiking

    There are hiking trails around the reservoir, including the Osprey Trail.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is allowed on some of the land around the reservoir. Visitors should check with individual parks for information about hunting regulations and seasons.

  • Picnicking

    There are picnic sites around the reservoir. The Pactola Point Picnic Ground tables are set back from the reservoir and scattered among large ponderosa pines. The area provides a view of Pactola Dam.

  • RVing

    RVs are welcome in the campgrounds around the reservoir.

  • Water Sports

    There are opportunities for water sports on the lake. Pactola Point Swim Beach is a sandy beach on the south shore of Pactola Reservoir. The beach is located near the Marina Store and the Pactola Point Picnic Ground. This location receives heavy use on weekends.

    Some people also enjoy scuba diving and water skiing in the reservoir.

Seasonality/Weather

The reservoir is open year-round. Summer temperatures range, on average, from 83 F to 55 F. Winter temperatures range from 10 F to the high 30s.

Directions

Driving

This site is 15 miles west of Rapid City off U.S. 385.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(605) 343-1567

Links