Cook Lake Recreation Area

  • Recreation and Relaxation

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    Situated in a heavily forested area, Cook Lake offers a little something for everyone. A campground close to the lake is in a peaceful setting for guests seeking recreation and relaxation in the Black Hills National Forest in Wyoming. Some sites in the campground are widely spaced and open up to views overlooking the lake, and others sit snugly along a hillside. Separation, rather than vegetation, provide visitors with a sense of privacy. Tall mature trees and grass underbrush give the campground a groomed character. Hiking, fishing and picnicking are also popular activities here.

  • Cook Lake Campground Reservations

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    Visit to make your campground reservation online. See off-season camping information below.

Check out the Cook Lake Spillway Reconstruction Project (Completed in 2020)

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Cook Lake Campground closes for the off-season on December 15.
Fees: Regular Season: $28/night --- See Off-Season camping fee information; See Day-Use fee information

General Information

Directions: From Sundance, WY, take US 14 west or exit 185 off Interstate 90 to US 14 west, for 1.4 miles to Cook Lake Recreation Area sign at Forest Route 838. Turn right onto FR 838 and go 12.9 miles to FR 843. Turn right and go 5.4 miles to another Cook Lake Recreation Area sign on FR 842. Turn left and go 1.1 miles to campground.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Ice Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Ice Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

The Cook Lake Trail is an easy 1.5 mile loop trail with some stairs and a stepping-stone crossing of Beaver Creek.  The trail circles the lake, and there are many opportunities to see various types of ducks and geese along with osprey, blue heron, and bald eagles.  In the water along the shore, very large fish called white amur are often seen.  These hybrid fish are distant relatives of carp and were introduced into the lake about 15 years ago to help control aquatic vegetation. Difficulty Rating: Easy.

The Cliff Swallow Trail is a 3.7 mile loop trail.  Cliff swallows nest in the limestone bluffs above Beaver Creek.  Look for gourd-shaped mud nests in the rock out-croppings below the ridge.  Other wildlife commonly seen along the trail include white-tailed deer, elk, and turkey. Along Beaver Creek, watch for blue herons, beaver, and water dippers. High above, turkey vultures are often seen riding the thermal drafts. Difficulty Rating: Moderate.

These trails are maintained for hiking and bicycling. They are not designed or maintained for horse use. No motorized travel is allowed. 



Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

The Cook Lake Recreation Area has 33 picnic sites.

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:


Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

Ice Skating

Recreation areas with activity Ice Skating:

Ice skating is allowed on all lakes in the Black Hills National Forest, including Cook Lake. None of the lakes are groomed for ice skating. Ice conditions fluctuate and skaters are reminded to use caution when travelling over the ice.

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Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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