The Black Hills are full of hidden swimming holes, scenic streams, and well-used lakes and reservoirs. When the summer heat is in full swing, take a day off and find one of these beautiful swimming spots.

Pactola Reservoir

Located 15 miles outside Rapid City, Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills with 14 miles of shoreline. Fly-fishing and ice fishing are both available, season permitting. Facilities include a full-service marina, two boat launches, and a swimming area.

Day admission is $6 per vehicle.

Hippie Hole

Hippie Hole is a local swimming and cliff jumping spot for the locals. It is a fairly large swimming hole, has a waterfall, and is surrounded by rock walls. Cliff diving can be dangerous so do research and take necessary precautions.

To find Hippie Hole, hike down Battle Creek from the parking area off South Rockerville Road. This is the easiest hike to the location.

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls in Hot Springs has been a hit with tourists and locals for decades. This beautiful but quaint little swimming hole has relaxing water in the summer months. The water is crystal clear and there are small rocks to safety jump off of.

Sheridan Lake

Sheridan Lake is located 15 miles west of Rapid City. Facilities include a marina, a beach, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Fish commonly found here include brown trout, largemouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, white crappie, and yellow perch.

Day admission is $6 per vehicle.

Devil’s Bathtub

Devil’s Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon requires a short hike to get to, but the journey is worth the destination! There is a waterfall that leads into the swimming hole, adding to the already beautiful Spearfish canyon scenery. It is best to go when water levels are not low.

The parking area for Devil’s Bathtub is located between Bridal Veil Falls and the curve for parking to hike Eleventh Hour.


Still too cold to go swimming outdoors? Go swimming indoors at the Roosevelt Swim Center in Rapid City, Evans Plunge in Hot Springs, WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort in Rapid City, or Best Western Ramkota Waterpark in Rapid City.


By Kelsey Sinclair