Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway


The tall, close to vertical walls of Spearfish Canyon surround this scenic byway as it cuts through Ponderosa and Spruce Pines beneath the cliffs of PahaSapa Limestone.

  • 20 miles long 
  • 30-60 minutes to travel, depending on how often you stop. 
  • Begins in Spearfish, South Dakota and runs to Cheyenne Crossing, 11 miles west of Deadwood along US-85. 
  • A wide highway that cuts down through the gorgeous Spearfish Canyon, this drive is popular for scenic drivers, recreationists and bikers alike.

Overview

If you come visit the Black Hills, the (potentially quick) Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is well worth fitting into your schedule. Along the 20 miles of this scenic drive, you’ll tour four distinct types of vegetation, multiple waterfalls and three unique rock layers that make up the canyon walls.

Wildlife also abounds through Spearfish Canyon, with everything from Mountain Goats and deer to Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout to eagles and the occasional bobcat.

Hiking trails, fishing holes and other recreational opportunities are available throughout Spearfish Canyon.

The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is also used as a commercial highway, so be sure to pull all the way off the road when stopping.

Driving Directions

From Spearfish, South Dakota, take Main Street south until it turns into Colorado Blvd. Turn south onto US-14 Scenic, which quickly enters Spearfish Canyon. The southern end of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive begins in Cheyenne Crossing at the intersection of US-85 and US-14 Scenic, 11 miles west of Deadwood. Check out this great map from the Spearfish Canyon Foundation.

Time/Distance

It takes about half-an-hour to drive the 20 miles of Spearfish Canyon, but add in some time for stopping and getting out of the car.

Highlights

  • A trip through the culture, nature and history of the Black Hills. 
  • Abundant wildlife watching opportunities are found throughout the canyon. 
  • One of the best scenic bike paths in America. 
  • In fall, changing leaves gild the canyon in gold. 
  • 11th Hour Gulch, which sees only a single hour of sunlight each day, is located along the Scenic Byway. 
  • Bridal Falls and Roughlock Falls are two popular cascades for picnicking.

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