Destination: Red Canyon Ranch, South Dakota

Photos: Courtesy VRBO


South Dakota is almost at the top of the list when it comes to the least-populated states in the U.S., but despite its low population density, there is plenty of public land (over a million acres) just waiting to be explored. This includes the Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park, two underappreciated gems in our country’s inventory of natural resources. Whether you’re exploring the state by vehicle or on foot, I think that you’ll find a warm meal and a hot shower are welcomed indulgences at the end of a long day, and both can be had when you stay at Red Canyon Ranch in Custer, South Dakota.

Previously featured on the Travel Channel’s Amazing Vacation Homes, this stunning log cabin is perched on the edge of a rocky cliff, with unobstructed views of South Dakota’s famous red limestone and the conifer-covered Black Hills below. This homesite is situated close to the location where Native tribes, as well as white settlers, originally entered into the hills. It’s a rustic, yet luxurious place to hang your hat, complete with sleeping accommodations for six people and spectacular, natural wood and stone design elements throughout the cabin.


In addition to the entertainment offered by abundant local wildlife (elk, antelope, mule deer, eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, and turkeys) that visit the area frequently, there are thousands of acres of public lands adjacent to the property for you to explore. This destination even boasts an outdoor hot tub at the canyon’s edge, the perfect place to relax and stargaze at the end of the day. The Red Canyon Ranch is located in the Southern Black Hills, within easy reach of the parks and national forest that South Dakota is known for.

You can learn more about the Red Canyon Ranch, located in Custer, South Dakota, and book your stay on VRBO.


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When he's not publishing campervan content or gear reviews on ExPo, Matt Swartz is honing his paragliding skills, hiking a 14er, or exploring the backroads of Colorado. His love of travel has seen him bike across the United States, as well as explore more exotic destinations like the Amazon basin and Patagonia. Matt spent three years living in a 1964 RV with his partner, Amanda. He's worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and his photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.