Travelogue: Palisades State Park, SD

After a long day of driving clear across South Dakota, we were in search of place to stay near Sioux Falls. We decided to try Palisades State Park in Garretson, SD after checking for campsites along I-90. We arrived at the campground after dark and so didn’t know what this place looked like until the next morning. Boy, were we pleasantly surprised!

This is a real gem of a park that is home to some truly interesting rock formations in a pleasant, bucolic setting. You can swim and cool off in the rushing water of Split Rock Creek while taking in the unique pink quartz bluffs that line the shores.  A short trail runs along the creek and it’s worth it to hike along the shores to see the distinctive King & Queen rocks. We were really impressed with this spot and decided to extend our stay by an additional evening in order to enjoy the area.

In pursuit of groceries and beer, we paid call to the neighboring town of Garretson and couldn’t help but notice its Norman Rockell vibe. With the fridge restocked and a few choice postcards dropped off at the post office, we we headed back to the park for another day of enjoying the creek waters.

Finding this beautiful place so unexpectedly really brings home why we’re traveling – there’s so much of this country (and for that matter, the world too) that we have yet to see for ourselves. We can’t wait to see what else we’ll find.

fear and loathing south dakota

Scene from Fear and Loathing in South Dakota?

palisades state park 5

Did you know that SD is home to thousands of acres of SUNFLOWERS! (okay, okay, and corn too… but SUNFLOWERS!)

palisades state park 3

Drive across South Dakota at night, end up covered in moths.

palisades campground

Lush, green campsites


Photogging in SD

My favorite shot of the palisades & Split Rock Creek.

My favorite shot of the palisades & Split Rock Creek.

Read our Campsite Review

4 thoughts on “Travelogue: Palisades State Park, SD

  1. Verla Marshall says:

    John and Verla here in Arkansas with unusually cool nights 53 last night and 80 degree days. First of all thank you Justin for your posts, we look forward to them. Secondly we were in Loveland, CO only days after you two left that area. We had spent almost a week up in the mountains @ southern CO camping along the Conejos river. We wondered why it took us 20 years to return there? Later


  2. Linda Ayers says:

    I’d love the see the pink quartzite cliffs along the river in person, but in case I don’t get to, your photos make for fun armchair traveling. Thanks!


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