Toadstool Geological Park and Campground

Area Status: Open
Toadstool Geologic Park sign with sites in the background

Toadstool Geologic Park is noted for its unusual geological formations, some in the shape of toadstools, and scientifically valuable fossil deposits. Our interpretive kiosk explains and illustrates the local geology and provides information and history about the local grasslands. During your hike look for signs of fossils that give scientists insight into the behavior of animals as they passed through this area as far back as 30 million years ago. In order for others to enjoy viewing these fossil resources collection is prohibited.

The trailhead at the campground provides access to three hiking trails to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty. A one mile loop highlights many examples of eroded clay/sandstone formations. While on the trail, follow our interpretive brochure to learn the fascinating geology of the area.

The Bison Trail leaves the interpretive loop at the half way point and continues up the canyon to Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center. Toadstool Campground to Hudson Meng is 3 miles one way.

 A five mile loop begins at the campground and proceeds on the graveled section of the interpretive trail for a short distance before heading north through the badlands and grasslands on the Great Plains Trail. After 1.5 miles the Great Plains Trail intersects with the 918 Road. Follow the signs to return to the Bison Trail and Toadstool Campground. The loop can be done in reverse going the other direction on the interpretive trail as you leave the campground.

The Great Plains Trail developed by the Great Plains Trail Alliance is a cross country network of public land trails and roads beginning in Guadalupe National Park and ending at the Canadian Border. The Bison Trail, 918 Road and part of the 5 mile loop are part of this network. Great Plains Trail information can be found at  

The campground consists of six sites with picnic tables and fire rings and upright grills and two accessible vault toilets. There is no water. 

Special features: In 1984 the Forest Service constructed a sod house near the site of a sod house built in 1929.  The new "soddie" provides a look into the past when the homesteaders on the grasslands used the only abundant material available. The original sod house was lived in briefly before being abandoned and signs of the original structure no longer exist.

Fossils and artifacts are protected under federal laws.

People hike on a sunny day at Great Plains Trail segment at Toadstool Geological Park Open grassland area near unique rock formations

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open year-round.
Reservations: First come, first serve. 
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site, Accessible, Tent camping, Camping trailer, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Fees: $3/vehicle/day use fee. $15/ vehicle/night camping fee. Day use included in camping fee. Please pay onsite.  
Restrictions: In the off season pack in/pack out.
Closest Towns: Crawford, NE
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet (2)
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Pine Ridge Ranger District (308) 432-0300

General Information


From Hot Springs, SD take Highway 71 south 37 miles to the intersection of Toadstool Road. Follow Toadstool Road for 11.4 miles to FS Road #902 and continue on road #902 for 1.4 miles to Toadstool Campground.

From Crawford, NE proceed to intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 2.  Take Highway 2 north for 4.2 miles to Toadstool Road. Follow Toadstool Road for 11.4 miles to FS Road 902 and continue on Road 902 for 1.4 miles to Toadstool Campground.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

6 sites. Covered picnic table for each site. Fire rings and pedestal grills. No drinking water

Fire Information Campfires are allowed, fire rings, grates, and grills are provided. Please don't bring in wood that may be infested by the Emerald Ash Borer.
No. of Accessible sites 6
Status: Open
Fees: Fees from mid May to mid November
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Day Hiking

3 mile trail to Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center, 1 mile interpretive loop trail.

Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult

Interpretive Areas

Maps of the area lead you to points of interest.

Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult



Picnic tables: 6 sites
Toilets: 2
Fee charged for some activities: $3/vehicle day use, $15/vehicle/night
Accessible: Accessible vault toilet. 0.3 mi. accessible trail that goes to the right past interesting landforms.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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