Spearfish Canyon is an amazing place with one of the most marvelous scenic highways in South Dakota. It stretches through the northern Black Hills for approximately 20 miles from Spearfish to Cheyenne Crossing (an old stage stop turned general store and restaurant). The breathtaking canyon is home to several waterfalls, including beautiful Spearfish Falls.
In the heart of Spearfish Canyon is the Latchstring Restaurant. Oddly enough, this is home to the Spearfish Falls Trailhead, which shares a parking lot with the restaurant. We pulled in and parked at the south end, near the upper observation deck. From here we could look down over the waterfall from above. A quick study of the trail map nearby and we were on our way into the canyon to view the falls from creek level.
This was a well maintained path that was very easy to follow. The descent into the canyon was absolutely stunning. The hike was just over half a mile long (one way) and was steadily downhill until we reached the canyon floor.
The cliff walls towering over us were steep, and as a result some parts of the canyon don't see much sun. Snow could be found in spots here and there, even though we visited at the beginning of summer. Maggie was thrilled to see it and made a point of stopping to roll in most of the small piles we came across. We could feel the temperature change during our walk -it actually was colder at the bottom of the canyon.
This was an easy (and truly beautiful) walk through the woods. Benches and railings lined the trail along the way. We crossed a bridge over Spearfish Creek, which was raging with spring rains and snow melt. I wouldn't let the dogs get into the water when it was flowing so hard -the rocky creek can turn deadly when it's roaring at full capacity. In late spring it surges at full power over large jagged rocks and is nothing to mess with.
There were informational signs along the wide and winding trail. Near the bottom, the forest grew dense and dark before opening up to the extraordinary sight of Spearfish Falls.
A railing separates the creek from the viewing area, creating a safe barrier between spectators and the falls. Spearfish Falls was gorgeous and we all spent some time taking it in. This was a wonderfully enchanting place to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
After enjoying the full extent of the scenery, we made our way back up the trail. Huge towering pines blocked out the sun as they led the way. Colossal cliff walls reached above us. The dogs had a great time, stopping here and there to survey everything around them. They had never seen a big waterfall up close before but seemed interested in both it and the raging creek.
Although the trail is quite popular it didn't seem crowded. Lots of people came and went but it didn't feel congested. The trip back up wasn't difficult, even though it was uphill the entire way. The grade didn't seem steep or strenuous, but there were benches along the path for anyone who needed them. Dogs and humans of all abilities and ages could enjoy this fabulous place.
On the way up we stopped on the bridge crossing Spearfish Creek. From here we could look up and down the splendid canyon. This was a beautiful section of the world, and the girls and I really enjoyed it.
The wide path provided plenty of room for passing people headed the other way. Chipmunks and other small creatures darted about the forest, keeping the dogs on alert. The hike wasn't very long or demanding, but the scenery was quite captivating.
This was a great place to visit. It was a gorgeous place to be, and we highly recommend stopping to enjoy this beloved Black Hills attraction.