State: South Dakota
Address 1: 25495 485th Avenue
Phone: (605) 594-3824
Open: Open May through October
Number of Sites: 34
Full Hook: Yes
Unusual terrain and a colorful past make Palisades State Park one of the most unique areas in South Dakota. Split Rock Creek, which flows through the park, is lined with Sioux quartzite formations varying from shelves several feet above the water to 50-foot vertical cliffs. Scenic overlooks and rushing water make Palisades a popular getaway. The park is popular among campers, sightseers, picnickers, rock climbers and hikers.
Flour and silver played an important role in the area’s past. A huge flour mill was once located on the bluff overlooking the park. The mill was powered by a large water-wheel installed along the rushing Split Rock Creek. The once-bustling town of Palisades grew up around the success of the mill. In 1886, silver was discovered downstream. The silver ore proved to be low in quality, however, and the nearly 300 claims were quickly dropped.
A popular legend tells of Jesse James’ daring escape near the area. After robbing a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, the James boys spent several days in a cave on Split Rock Creek. When Jesse finally abandoned the hiding place, he was surprised to find a posse close behind. Reaching Devil’s Gulch, legend has it that he leaped across the sheer walls to elude the lawmen. A small foot-bridge now spans the gap, which is found two miles north of Palisades in a Garretson city park.
Camping: 34 sites (22 electrical). One wheelchair accessible site. 12 tent-only sites. Showers. Water.
Recreation: Camping. Cabins. Canoeing on Split Rock Creek. Fishing. Game / equipment rental. Hiking. Historic sites: bridge is a National Historic Structure. Horseshoes. Accessible picnic shelter. Picnic tables along the rugged cliffs and spires provide great views. Playground equipment. Volleyball court. Nearby golf course.
Fishing/Boating: Canoeing. Fishing in Split Rock Creek. License required.