Visit Rockerville, South Dakota with Mighway

Rent an RV in Rockerville, South Dakota


Rockerville is a small unincorporated community in Pennington County in the Black Hills of the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally established as a mining camp, it was named for the "rockers" which were used to separate placer gold from stream gravel. Rockerville was founded in 1876 as the result of a gold rush. It was a tourist town in the 1950s and 1960s because of its key location on US Highway 16 between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It had a variety of tourist attractions, including a "Mellerdrammer" (Mellodrama) live theatre, a "Ghosttown" of various buildings with tourist shops and small amusements, "It's a Small World" Museum (featuring an 1880 Tiny Town model and other miniature collections), a motel, campgrounds and RV parks. However, in the conversion of US Highway 16 to four lanes in the mid-1960s, the original townsite was placed literally between the two separate roadways, as there was no way to widen the original highway through the town without completely destroying it. The construction of at least three exits into the town from both directions, the town continued to be a vibrant tourist attraction in the 1970s and 1980s. The tourist could take in daily wild west shows, shootouts, stagecoach rides and gold panning. Fine dining was and still is available at the Gaslight Restaurant. Travelers could stay in town at the local Trading Post Motel, buy groceries and gas up their cars at the Rockerville Trading Post. In the 1990s, the town virtually died. A poor local economy was due mainly to low visibility to tourist. Travelers on their way to and from Mount Rushmore never saw the town when whizzing past at 55 miles per hour. Every business closed, and many remain abandoned to this day, although the "Gaslight Saloon" remains a local restaurant and attraction. This severe local economic damage today is sometimes referred to in South Dakota as "Rockerville Syndrome" and has had a significant bearing in the construction of new bypasses and highway improvements as recently as 1998 and 2001, in and around such small towns as Hill City and Corson. Today, several subdivisions and rural residential areas have been built around Rockerville, which also has a sawmill and other commercial activities, leaving the small town rather like a doughnut. It is located close enough to Rapid City, Hill City, and Keystone to serve as a bedroom community. A larger commercial area has grown up on US Highway 16 approximately 1 mile east, known as "East Rockerville" or "Rockerville Flats" with various tourist-oriented businesses and more residential areas. To the west, on the old alignment of US Highway 16, now called Silver Mountain Road, is the rural community of Silver Mountain, including Storm Mountain Center, a United Methodist camping facility. The Flume Trail, a hiking trail following the alignment and remains of a water flume built to provide water for those gold rockers in the 1880s, connects Rockerville, Storm Mountain, and Boulder Hills with Sheridan Lake, deeper in the Hills. Also, the west is Beretta Gulch, US Forest Service land well-known to locals as a popular shooting range, and the Keystone Wye, where US 16 and US 16A divide, and famous for what was once the world's largest timber arch bridge.

Places to Visit near Rockerville, South Dakota


Mount Rushmore

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level. South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.  Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from environmentalists and Native American groups. They settled on the Mount Rushmore location, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody but Borglum decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941. The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and has managed the memorial to the present day. It attracts nearly three million people annually. National Treasure 2 might have been a complete fabrication of American history, but Nicolas Cage was right about one thing: there's a secret room hidden away in Keystone, South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.. and it's filled with awesome stuff! 

Bear Country U.S.A

Very few people have had a full-grown black bear look in the window of their family car, or if they have, it was not by choice. Even fewer have seen a reindeer or a elk up close. However, many people are getting experiences like these at Bear Country U.S.A. in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Nestled over 250 acres amidst towering pines and along rolling meadows just eight miles south of Rapid City, Bear Country U.S.A. offers visitors intimate views of most North American mammals. Visitors take a leisurely three-mile drive through several enclosures and encounter black bear, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, dall sheep and buffalo. At this "the home of the largest collection of privately owned black bear in the world", Bear Country U.S.A. guests are guaranteed to see more than they bargained for. From the comfort of their own car, visitors watch as these clowns of nature frolic in a pool, climb trees and amble across the road in front of their vehicle.

Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave is a unique world of sparkling calcite crystals and other spectacular cave formations. The cave is currently the second longest in the world, at 155.12 miles. Immerse yourself within the second longest cave in the world. With over 160 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, this underground wilderness appeals to human curiosity. Its splendor is revealed through fragile formations and glimpses of brilliant color. Its maze of passages lure explorers, and its scientific wealth remains a mystery. This resource is truly a jewel in the National Park Service. Jewel Cave is world renowned for its crystal-lined passages and rare cave formations such as hydromagnesite balloons and conulites.

Reptile Gardens

Reptile Gardens is an animal park located south of Rapid City, South Dakota on the road to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Its mission is to "offer Guests an amazing experience while positively contributing to the future of our animal residents, as well as our community, by educating the public about important environmental issues and working closely with many major zoos worldwide to promote species survival". Housing a large variety of unique reptiles and exotic plants, Reptile Gardens has a strong tradition of community involvement and wildlife education for people of all ages. Reptile Gardens was cited in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records for being the world's largest reptile zoo.

Campgrounds and RV Parks near Rockerville, South Dakota


Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

nothing but beauty

Lewis and Clark Lake, near Yankton, is one of the state park system's most popular resort parks. Three separate campgrounds comprise this modern recreation area, attracting visitors from throughout the Midwest. Modern resort facilities - from marinas to camping cabins to sandy beaches - attract water lovers to Lewis and Clark.

Visit Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

Sylvan Lake

Perfect place to kick back and day dream

Sylvan Lake, known as the "crown jewel" of Custer State Park, is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch, it offers picnic areas, rock climbing, small rental boats, swimming, and hiking trails. It is also popular as a starting point for excursions to Harney Peak and The Needles. A hotel was operated on the shore of the lake in the early 20th century.

Visit Sylvan Lake

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Thor Industries

Thor Industries

Parent of brands like Airstream®, Thor Industries owns companies that together represent the world’s largest RV manufacturer.

Road Bear RV

Road Bear RV

From 1980, when they built their first Camper Van, to today, Road Bear has been on an unquestioning quest to 'be the best for the customer'.

Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers helps people discover the world around them in an entirely new way by streamlining travel into an engaging and intuitive process.

TH2

TH2

TH2 is a joint venture created by travel giants: Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, and thl, the world’s largest RV rental and sales operator.