Pactola Lake

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"Pactola" redirects here. For the ghost town, see Pactola, South Dakota. For the dam, see Pactola Dam.
Pactola Lake
LakePactola.jpg
Location Pennington County, South Dakota
Coordinates 44°04′23″N 103°29′35″W / 44.073°N 103.493°W / 44.073; -103.493Coordinates: 44°04′23″N 103°29′35″W / 44.073°N 103.493°W / 44.073; -103.493
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Rapid Creek
Primary outflows Rapid Creek
Basin countries United States

Pactola Lake is the largest reservoir in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is created by the Pactola Dam. At the bottom of Pactola Lake is the submerged town of Pactola, an old mining camp and site of several military bivouacs during the original settlement of the Black Hills in the mid-1870s.

The lake is located on Rapid Creek in Pennington County, South Dakota. The lake provides the water supply for the Rapid City Metro Area. It is owned and operated by the US Bureau of Reclamation, with the various recreational facilities operated by the US Forest Service, and is one of the recreational areas of Black Hills National Forest. Boating and fishing are very popular, with a walk-in fly fishing area located on Rapid Creek below the dam.

Facilities include a marina, improved swimming beach, campgrounds and group campground on the south shore, campgrounds and a handicapped fishing path on the north shore, and various picnic and overlook areas. In the summer, the USFS operates a visitor center on the dam, immediately off US Highway 385. The dam across Rapid Creek is very large, and was enlarged following the Black Hills Flood of 1972; lake water levels vary enormously, as the lake is used for flood control, domestic water, streamflow maintenance, and irrigation.

Pactola Lake is accessible via US Highway 385 north from Hill City, South Dakota and Sheridan Lake Forks or south from Lead and Deadwood; or via the Rimrock Highway (also known as SD Highway 44), from Rapid City, South Dakota. Fees are charged in summertime for all facilities. Boating (both power and sail), fishing, swimming, and other outdoor activities are popular in the summer; in wintertime, ice-fishing, ice-skating, and some cross-country skiing is popular.

The small town of Silver City is located at the upstream end of the lake; downstream on Rimrock Highway and Rapid Creek are the communities of Johnson Siding, Hisega, Upper Hisega, Placerville, and Big Bend.

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