One of America’s greatest scenic byways winds through the Black Hills between Spearfish and Lead, South Dakota, featuring waterfalls, thousand-foot cliffs, and roadside turnoffs where travelers can stop and photograph the sights. Spearfish Canyon is so beautiful, some scenes from Dances with Wolves were filmed here.
About halfway through the canyon stands the remains of the Homestake Mining Company’s Hydro Electric Plant No. 2, a now-closed relic of the gold mining operation just up the Canyon in Lead, South Dakota. It is thoroughly fenced and posted to deter trespassers from entering.
In 2014, talks were underway for this whole area to become a state park. We haven’t heard the outcome of those negotiations. If anyone has an update, please leave a comment.
Spearfish Canyon is a very popular route for sightseeing via motorcycle and bicycle, and on the weekend we visited, an international Corvette convention was in town, and we saw dozens of convertible Corvettes cruising the winding highway, top down, threat of rain be damned.
Time and weather prevented us from seeing and photographing all that we wanted to see — Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls for example. When we find ourselves in the area again, we’ll definitely return to Spearfish Canyon.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media