What’s better than a campfire in the summer?  A campfire in winter! It’s cozy, warm and sticky gooey with a “s’more fest.”

Be aware, you might start a tradition: “Can I have s'(ome) more Please!”

I learned this year that s’more-making is serious business. Grandmothers teach their grandchildren how get a sugar high at the campfire. But, leave it to the Girl Scouts, though to set a world record for smores.

Folks at the annual Poco Loco Frio bring their own fire pits to the CCC Campground.

Pick a site

When access roads are in good shape, as they are this fall, drive in to one of the BLM or Forest Service campgrounds/picnic grounds in the North Dakota Badlands. Then, pick a fire ring and start a campfire.  While it gets going, set up a s’mores production line on the nearby picnic table or even your tailgate.





Here’s where to go:

Click here to visit the USDA Forest Service list of places to picnic with a campfire: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dpg/recreation/picnickinginfo/recarea/?recid=79469&actid=70

What is your recommended campground for a s’mores fest?


What to buy?

There are no rules for s’mores. Kids especially like to experiment. So, Now you get to be creative – and encourage your family to experiment. Check out the recipes below to find options and alternatives.

The traditional three ingredients: Graham Cracker, marshmallow and chocolate.

$5.00 investment in wood

Before you head out, buy a selection of firewood at a c-store, truck stop, grocery store, hardware store or home improvement store. A good mix of wood includes easy igniting wood such as pine, and also heavier hardwood for good coals such as oak.  Heft the bundles and you’ll find the lightwood and hardwood you need.  We’ve found prices between $4.99 and $7.50.

If you have long-handled grill forks for your summer backyard cookout, use them.  campfire hot dogs in the Elkhorn Campsite in the North Dakota BadlandsOr find a long stick to sharpen to skewer the marshmallow. Two or three feet long is a good length.

Skewer the marshmallow, and reach the stick close to the flames. 

The don’t need to be in the flame, just nearby to get that “crisp gooey state”.  When it is  hot and gooey, pinch it off the stick between the graham crackers  and chocolate sandwich, The hot marshmallow will melt the chocolate.

Make a S’mores Cone

You’ll need aluminum foil and no sticks with this variation.  Just get a box of ice cream cones, put marshmallows and chocolate pieces in the cones. Then wrap them in the aluminum foil, set them on the fire pit grill, or off to the side of the coals where it is hot, but not on fire.

Actually, hot coals do a better job of roasting marshmallows on a stick rather than an open flame.

campfire elkhorn camping

Be prepared for cleanup. Set a pan of water directly on the hot coals. It’s an efficient way to get warm water for washing off sticky fingers. Of course, a long stick is needed to lift the pan in and out of the hot coals.

 It only takes about a minute to melt the chocolate and marshmallows. Carefully unwrap the package – the foil will be hot, so be careful.

S’more Variations

I’ve heard of other varying ingredients such as different chocolate candy bars, Oreo cookies, Nutella, caramel, cream cheese, jam, jelly or peanut butter. Experiment.  Have you tried shaving fudge and adding the shavings to the graham cracker sandwich? I’ll bet it’s rich.

Use fudge striped cookies and use them instead of graham crackers.

Plan Ahead for this Winter.

We recognize people are looking for safe family activities this winter to stay healthy but entertained. That’s why we put together this suggestion of things to do that are healthy and happy.

We have a few ideas we’ll be posting all winter for you to try.  Just subscribe to this email and you’ll be the first to know when new ideas are posted.

Join us on Facebook to get regular updates to what’s happening in the North Dakota Badlands.

Our Things To Do Calendar is the best, most comprehensive events calendar in western ND and eastern MT.

Plan Ahead for s’mores this Summer

File away this idea to be a smores superhero and pull it out on August 10. Our friends at National Day Calendar tell us August 10 is National S’mores Day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Badlands open in the winter? Yes, the North Dakota Badlands from Marmarth to Mandaree are open.  State parks close, and some tourist towns close, but the natural topography of the North Dakota Badlands is open.  Road such as East River Road, West River Road, Custer Trail Loop, Black Tail Road, Goat Pass Road are all open for visitors if you stay on public ground. Don’t trespass.

Where can we build a campfire to make s’mores? BLM and Forest Service Campgrounds have fire pits.  Bring your own firewood. If there is a weather-related fire danger, though, you may not be able to build a fire even  in a pit. 

Will I get stuck in the snow? Not likely.  Most campgrounds are on major gravel roads. Of course in a snow storm, even these get clogged. So, use your judgement. Don’t risk getting caught in a snow storm. Otherwise, the roads are good.