Although I’ve been to the Black Hills National Forest before, our recent trip was my first time tackling a few hikes in the area around Spearfish, South Dakota.
Brian found three hikes all accessible from a central parking area behind the Spearfish Canyon Lodge (don’t accidentally park at the lodge, which is for customers only!).
We started with the ’76 Trail, a 1.2-mile, out-and-back hike with 564 feet of gain. The name seemed appropriate for an Independence Day hike!
This hike was certainly the most physically challenging of the day and had our hearts pumping from our first vertical step until we arrived at the overlook. We had amazingly clear views over the Black Hills, and we met two very nice couples – one from South Dakota and one from Minnesota – who were also enjoying a holiday weekend getaway.
After we descended to the trailhead, we crossed the road and looked for the path to the other destinations on our list: Spearfish Falls and Roughlock Falls.
The Spearfish Falls trail is about 1.5 miles roundtrip and only a short walk from the Latchstring Restaurant. There is a small viewing platform behind the restaurant but you can’t really see the falls – just hear them.
We found the trail to the base of the falls, which wound through the woods before coming out on a really nice viewing area. We were pleasantly surprised at the volume of water – sometimes the falls dry up in the summer time, but this 47-foot waterfall was plunging into a decent pool!
After returning to the restaurant we decided to stop by the car and drop off our trekking poles before our final hike, which had a very accessible trail and basically no elevation gain.
The Roughlock Falls is a cascading falls tucked back into the canyon and ended up being my favorite. Everything was so lush and green on our 2-mile hike out to the falls, and we stopped to take pictures along the way. Some women were hunting mushrooms along the path, families were taking their time and enjoying the shade, and it was a great way to wrap up our morning hikes.
Because of the holiday and a pretty full day of travel, we didn’t get to explore Spearfish the town – something to look forward to the next time we are in the area. I really enjoyed re-experiencing the Black Hills and look forward to hiking there again soon!