The Beauty of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

The Beauty of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

Fog on the peaks.

“I need to go to the Post Office. Would you like to come along?” Little did we know that those words would take us on a beautiful, winding drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in South Dakota.

Much of South Dakota has a stark, wild beauty in its landscape. Badlands National Park is the prime example of that wildness. Today we drove through the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.

In comparison with the Badlands, Spearfish Canyon is lush, filled with Ponderosa Pines While our friends back in Wisconsin are sweltering in 90 degree weather, fall has certainly come to the hills.

Leaves on trees are starting to turn and the temperatures are in the upper 40s, often accompanied with drizzle and fog. The colors in the canyon were breathtaking.

Can you find the house in the hills?

Approximately 600 million years ago, this entire area was covered by a sea. As continents moved, water drained away and eroded the softer rock, leaving canyons like the one we saw today. Spearfish Creek still runs right next to Highway 14A through the gorge. Bridal Veil Falls is right by the side of the road.

Bridal Veil Falls

The rock formations here were spectacular.

Rock formations surrounding Bridal Veil Falls.

The canyon, located on the northern edge of the Black Hills National Forest, is rarely more than one mile wide at any point. Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed Spearfish Canyon as ‘the’ most magnificent canyon in the west in his visit of 1935. Spearfish Canyon was the location for several scenes in the movie epic, “Dances With Wolves.”

Tranquil pond

It is hard to pick photos that capture the beauty of the canyon, but these are some of our favorites. One of the highlights was finding an American Dipper, North America’s only truly aquatic songbird. It catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom.

This American Dipper was singing its heart out next to the creek.

For more information on Spearfish Canyon, visit the Spearfish Canyon Foundation website.

7 Replies to “The Beauty of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway”

  1. Love the photos, and envious of the cooler temperatures! It must be some sort of game that a good chunk of states seem to have a waterfall dubbed “Bridal Veil Falls”. Like a real life “Where’s Waldo” one can play while traveling. I wish you guys many more Bridal Veil Falls experiences!

  2. Beautiful pictures; definitely this place goes on my bucket list. Doesn’t look like the skies were cooperating for the astronomy part.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous drive! I could just feel the coolness of the air and hear the rushing streams from looking at the pictures.

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