If you’re a fan of hiking and stunning views, then you came to the right place! The hiking options seem almost endless throughout scenic Spearfish Canyon. There are many opportunities to go on fun and wild adventures along the 22 miles of the scenic byway.
You can either pull over for a view or get out and explore the canyon. Most of the canyon is public land and part of the Black Hills National Forest. Just be sure to watch for the occasional no trespassing sign indicating private property.
Here are some of our favorite hiking trails down the Spearfish Canyon:
Community Caves (Beginning to Intermediate Hikers)
Community Caves, also known as Wildcat Caverns, could be reason enough to explore Spearfish Canyon. There are little waterfalls along the way which create some beautiful ice formations in the winter.
The caves are located only a few miles into the canyon if you are traveling south from Spearfish. You’ll want to keep an eye out for mile marker 13 and park in the pullout located on the right side of the road just after the marker.
The hike is moderately strenuous because of its steep ascent over loose rocks, but the view you’re rewarded with is worth the trek. Lace up your hiking boots, bring your camera, and get ready for this hidden wonderland of beauty and awe!
Devil’s Bathtub (Beginning to Intermediate Hikers)
Devil’s Bathtub is an absolute must-see while visiting Spearfish Canyon! As you travel south on the scenic byway, you’ll want to watch for the road named Cleopatra Place. It’s located just a few miles south of Bridal Veil Falls.
Pull into the small gravel parking lot, and walk over the bridge across Spearfish Creek, then head right. Throughout the hike, you’ll have to cross the stream several times so make sure you wear waterproof shoes. The total length of the hike is just over 1 mile round-trip.
The best park of the hike? Plunging into the Devil’s Bathtub at the end to cool down! This is one of the most rewarding hikes in the canyon, don’t miss your chance!
11th Hour Gulch (Intermediate to Experienced Hikers)
11th Hour Gulch is another beautiful natural feature of Spearfish Canyon. It’s about 20 feet wide and is located just off the right side of Highway 14A, near mile marker 20. The 11th Hour Gulch is so named because it’s high walls only expose it to one hour of sunlight a day.
The hike can be short and sweet (or long and drawn out), but worth the effort. Kids, flip-flops and those allergic to heights should avoid this hike. A man-made ladder has been put in place to assist your climb.
The initial stages of this hike are very vertical, with the water lining the rock making the ascent a little more dangerous. Once you climb the ladder and head out on the rocks, you will reach the lookout that looms over the road you just came in on. Your camera will love the unique views this hike offers!
76 Trail (Beginning to Intermediate Hikers)
The 76 Trail is a popular hike in the Spearfish Canyon. The trailhead lies close to the entrance of Roughlock Falls. Historically, the 76 Trail is part of the 16 mile mining passage that ran through Spearfish Canyon back in 1876.
The famous gold prospector Potato Creek Johnny is said to have traveled on the trail a great deal. The trail is 1.2 miles one way and is populated by several benches along the path that allow you to rest. The hike is steeper but short lived, so make sure you wear proper hiking shoes for the trip.
At the end of your trail you’ll reach a lookout known as Buzzard’s Roost. One of the best times of the year to make this trek is during the Fall when the colors of the canyon explode with vibrancy.
Roughlock Trail (Beginning Hikers/Wheelchair-Accessible)
Get your camera ready, because this is one trail you will have to photograph! The wheelchair-accessible trail winds its way slowly to Roughlock Falls–a stunning waterfall that flows into Spearfish Canyon from Little Spearfish Creek. The trail gets its name from the ‘rough-locking’ technique pioneers would use to keep their wagons from skidding down the multi-tiered falls.
The trail begins near Spearfish Canyon Lodge and is marked and accessible from the lodge parking lot. The trail is approximately one mile from the falls, and is considered an easy trail that showcases plenty of breathtaking views, wildlife, and fishing. It’s also one of the few places in the Black Hills to observe the rare American Dipper, a bird that can both walk and swim under water.
Take a break from your day to enjoy this hike, and the multi-tiered gorgeous waterfall at the end.
Start planning your Spearfish Canyon adventure today by checking out all the fun activities we have to offer!