Pactola Visitor Center

Area Status: Closed

Pactola Visitor Center

(Photo by Jennifer Fowler, Pactola Visitor Center Volunteer)

The Pactola Visitor Center is open during the summer months and early fall seasons as an educational and interpretive facility related to the Black Hills National Forest. It is located about 22 miles west of Rapid City, South Dakota, following Hwy 44 to Hwy 385 toward the Pactola Reservoir.
NOTE: The visitor center closed for the season on Saturday, September 30, 2023. The facility is planned for opening on Friday, May 24, 2024 and will be open through Labor Day Weekend. The current schedule is planned for 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. MT daily.
  • Staff are available to answer questions, provide guidance, and assist with an assortment of publications to help create positive and memorable travel experiences.
  • Exhibits and displays provide visitors with a sense of exploration toward the natural and cultural resources in western South Dakota.
  • At different times throughout the summer season, programs and special events are scheduled at the visitor center, nearby observation decks, and at various sites on the Forest. For more information about programs, activities, and youth engagement opportunities, please refer to Visitor Programs

Pactola Visitor Center

  • The Black Hills Parks and Forests Association (BHPF) offers a store outlet inside the visitor center. Products include educational books, identification guides, trail maps, posters, CDs and DVDs, nature games, clothing, recreation guides, and memorable souvenirs related to the Forest and surrounding area. Purchases from the store support wonder and exploration through financial aid and programming assistance back to the Forest.  BHPF is the official non-profit, partner organization of the Black Hills National Forest; BHPF also manages store outlets at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Buffalo Gap National Grassland Visitor Center, Jewel Cave National Monument, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, and sites within the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands. For additional sales assistance, visit BHPF online at or call (605) 745-7020.

NOTE: If you are searching for Smokey Bear products to complement your vacation, please visit the BHPF Online Store for an assortment of options. 

For more information about the visitor center, please contact the Recreation Program at the Forest Supervisor’s Office by email or (605) 673-9200.

Pactola Visitor Center
Black Hills National Forest
22995 Hwy 385
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702
(605) 343-8755

Looking out window from the Pactola Visitor Center

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Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


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