Several waterfalls roar through South Dakota's Black Hills; some well-known, some obscure. We set out to find one of the forest's hidden secrets -Rapid Creek Falls. Not much information exists about this sight. It isn't highly publicized or promoted. In fact, we had driven past it on several other adventures and never even noticed.
We made our way along Rochford Road, looking for the start of Mystic Road. Once at the junction, we would find a small parking area and access to the Mickelson Trail. This popular 108 mile trail runs through the heart of the Black Hills. Rapid Creek Falls can be found just off the Mickelson Trail, between Mystic Road and Trestle Road.
We hopped on the Mickelson Trail, heading east. We didn't have to walk far before we could hear the unmistakable sound of a rushing waterfall. Just to the right of the trail, a small clearing led the way to an amazing sight.
A powerful multi-tiered waterfall gushed just below us. The small clearing lent itself to a great view overlooking Rapid Creek Falls.
There were no signs or markers of any kind indicating the presence of this wondrous feature, almost as if effort had been taken to keep it a secret.
The dogs excitedly looked out over the falls below, enthralled by the magnificent sight.
We sat near the falls, appreciating its majesty. The ceaseless roar was hypnotic, and we were enchanted by the captivating rhythm of the water.
It was an absolutely beautiful place to sit and bask in this remarkable secluded sight.
We let as much time pass as we cared to. Eventually, we gathered ourselves and prepared to continue on down the trail. As we turned to leave, we were treated to a lovely view of the lush creek valley stretching out through the woodlands. The sight was so beautiful that Ursa decided to sit back down, right where she was, and take in this vista.
Apparently my little brindle dog was quite taken with this delightful scenery. Maggie decided to take this opportunity to get another look at the waterfall.
I couldn't blame either of them for wanting to absorb all that this charming place had to offer. More time passed. I let the girls decide how long we stayed. When they had finally had their fill of this splendid setting, we rejoined the Mickelson Trail and continued east.
Across the road from us sat a triangle shaped pond. Admittedly, it looked more like a swamp than a pond. We decided to view it from a distance; there was no telling what creatures made their home in that thing, but we wouldn't be disturbing them.
The trail followed the creek as we hiked along, crossing bridges over the water.
The dogs were having a lovely time. We reached the spot where the Mickelson Trail ran into Trestle Road. The trail now began to make its way south. We could continue along it for as far as we wanted. One of the great things about the Mickelson Trail is that excursions can be tailored to any length.
We strolled along, soaking up the warm summer sun. After a bit, we reached a decent turn-around point and began the trek back. This was a beautiful day for a light walk through the forest.
We neared the waterfall again and stopped to check it out one last time. The girls were really enjoying themselves, and were all smiles and enthusiasm on our adventure.
Soon we reached the car again. After a few last sniffs around, the dogs hopped in ready to head on to the next adventure. Cluder Gulch stretched south of the parking area, thickly wooded and overgrown. This wild and beautiful section of the forest was truly enchanting.
We had a delightful walk along the Mickelson Trail to find Rapid Creek Falls. The trek was easy and could be tailored to any length. This adventure would be suitable for dogs and humans of all ages and abilities. It was surprising how little effort it took to find what was easily one of the area's best kept secrets, once we knew what we were looking for.