Hiking opportunities are plentiful throughout the Black Hills, but Spearfish Canyon has some of the absolute best trails in the area, as well as bubbling streams, majestic waterfalls, and dense forest. Most of the canyon is on public land within the Black Hills National Forest. Spearfish Canyon isn’t as busy as many state and national parks, so hikers here can enjoy the beautiful Black Hills scenery without interruption.
Devils Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon is a one mile hike round trip that turns around at the swimming hole. There is a waterfall that leads into the swimming hole, adding to the already beautiful Spearfish canyon scenery. If you plan on swimming, it is best to go when water levels are not low. This is one of the most popular Spearfish Canyon hikes, so there might be other people on the trail, especially on hot summer days.
The parking area for Devil’s Bathtub is located on Cleopatra Place between Bridal Veil Falls and the curve for parking to hike 11th Hour Gulch.
11th Hour Gulch
11th Hour Gulch got its name because the gulch is so narrow that it supposedly only gets one hour of sunlight per day. This hike requires lots of climbing, so leave the young kids at home and wear a good pair of hiking shoes. Rickety ladders lead to the top, where you will be able to look down on the nearby road.
To get to the gulch, take Spearfish Canyon Highway. You will pass Bridal Veil Falls, and you will pass a road called Cleopatra Place. There will be pull-off on the left side of the road. There are no markers but the trail begins across the road.
Community Caves are only a half mile from the road, but the hike is strenuous because of the steep incline and loose rocks. The caves are interestingly shaped and provide a fun, short exploration. The trail is not marked, so directions are required.
To find the caves, follow Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway about two miles from the turnoff Colorado Boulevard, which will put you at mile marker 13. Immediately after a curve, there will be a parking area on the side of the road. Cross the highway and walk down to the creek. The hike isn’t marked, so continue hiking to the left until you find a small trail. You will reach a small boulder field and the trail will veer upward, leading to the caves.
Plan to come back to the trail in the winter and see the water flowing over the caves freeze into a winter wonderland.
Little Spearfish Falls
If there is one thing Spearfish Canyon has plenty of, it is beautiful waterfalls. Hike to one of the canyon’s best on this trail. It is less than a mile and is easy for novices.
The trailhead is behind the Latchstring Restaurant.
This two mile roundtrip hike turns around at Roughlock Falls, one of the most photographed spots in the area. It is especially popular in the fall months when the leaves are changing colors, making for breathtaking autumn scenery. The trail is ADA accessible and a great trail for families.
The trailhead is near Spearfish Canyon Lodge and is accessible from the lodge parking lot.
If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, the canyon also has rock climbing, picnicking, fishing, swimming, bird watching, and dining. Spearfish Canyon has been recognized by national rock climbing magazines for its great climbing and scenery.