The Sturgis Experience

by Pappy

I was wondering if anyone going to Sturgis knew how easy it would be to just ride up there and get a campground.  I would consider going there, but don’t have a place to stay, or even a floor of a friend’s to sleep on, so camping seems to be the only way in for me.

Any clues/suggestions?  It would be a nice getaway for me and a chance to meet a few more Caders. 


Hey Jerry,

My wife and I did Sturgis last year and it is something I will never forget.  300,000 bikes went through there in a weeks time.  Glad to say I been there and done that, but I am not a crowd person.  (With) Half hour lines to get gas, most of the people are great, but you can find the butt heads without looking too hard.

We found a little campground in Wall, about 30 miles from Sturgis.  It was clean and not that expensive, with a pool and good showers and you can walk across the tracks to downtown Wall, another very interesting place.  It is impossible to find a place to throw a sleeping bag in Sturgis and the noise is unbelievable.  That many bikes and 95% are Harley’s each trying to out pipe the other.

I have never in my widest dreams, imagined the sight of all these bikes, shined and looking absolutely beautiful.  It is the ultimate site for the old saying, “Take pride in your Ride.”  We did not see the full 300,000 but we did not see one dirty junker in all we did see.  You will start passing bikes two days out of Sturgis and by the time you get there you will not believe your eyes, or ears for that matter.  

Take a ride down Spearfish Canyon. It will blow your mind. If you are coming (from), or leaving towards Wyoming you (will) need to plan to ride this canyon.

One problem is, more and more Yippee types are trying to look cool.  So, instead of riding to Sturgis, you load the bike on a trailer, hitch up to a motor home and park 30 miles out.  Take the bike off the trailer, put on your leathers and ride into town.  Last year there were 17 people killed in South Dakota by bikes falling off trailers or trailers coming off motorhomes.  

One of the more interesting sights is the bodies along the road.  I am sure you know Dakota’s have no helmet law, so you will find very few Haley riders with a helmet.  The Angels and some of the other clubs do the Harley thing of riding side by side.  It is not cool when the inside rider wants to pull over for a beer, or get rid of some, and his buddy doesn’t read his mind.  We saw at least eight burnt bikes and several sheets along side the road.  

One of the best piece’s of advice we received was NEVER pull over to help, when there is group along side the road.  9 times out of 10 they are having a party and you will not be welcome.

Anyway back to your question.  When you get to Wall, take the main exit, go north through the center of town, take a left at the end of the street and go two blocks, past the campground on the right and take a left into the campground.  Nice grass camping sites with full hookups.  It was not expensive and not crowded.  It is a fairly new place and off the beaten track.  We had a tent trailer but most used a little tent.