The Black Hills of South Dakota contains many stunning sights, and this special place is no exception. Located just a few miles west of Rapid City on Highway 44, Falling Rock Road actually provides two different trails, each with its own spectacular view of the canyon below.
After turning onto Falling Rock Road, the first trail head will be almost immediately to your left, where you'll find a small parking area. The trail is short and sweet; it's easy to navigate, wide, fairly flat, and is more of what I would consider a 'mini-hike'. However, for the minimal time and effort invested, the payoff is huge. Only a couple minutes into the woods and you're facing a beautiful scene overlooking Shanks Gulch and Rapid Creek.
You'll need a few minutes to really take everything in. There are plenty of nice spots to sit and enjoy the view, or just sniff around.
Once you've had a chance to soak in the scenery, head back to the road and continue down to the second trail head (again indicated by a small parking area on your left). I should note that none of these trails or parking spots are marked or have any signs but they are still noticeable and quite easy to find.
The second trail is also wide and easy to follow. The terrain is a bit rocky at times, so watch your step. The second trail is a little bit longer, but it allows you to follow more of the cliff tops above the canyon. This provides different views than the first trail, and they're all gorgeous.
A word of warning: don't get too close to the edges of the cliffs. One misstep could be fatal for you or your pup. I strongly suggest keeping dogs on leashes in this area for their own safety, as these cliffs drop hundreds of feet to the canyon below. Also keep in mind there is abundant wildlife around to tempt your dog into trouble. Don't let this frighten you however -you can enjoy the vistas without getting too close to the rim of the canyon.
Follow the trail along the top of the gulch and you'll find plenty of shady spots for a water and treat break while enjoying an amazing view!
We spent a lot of time here just taking in all the sights (and smells for the girls). This is one of the best views you can get without actually climbing a mountain. Both of the trails are fairly flat and easy to walk -very dog friendly. We absolutely love it here. It's quite accessible, but you aren't likely to run into a large crowd due to the inconspicuous nature of the unmarked trail heads.
It's astounding that this fantastic place is only minutes outside of the city. Whether you only have time for a short walk, or you want to explore the area for a while, this is a great place to go. The views are amazing and it provides for plenty of enrichment, exercise, and fresh air for you and your dog. We highly recommend it!