The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway sports four-foot-wide shoulders specifically to allow bikers safe use of the highway. From Spearfish to Lead, the byway is about 19 miles and is a beautiful bicycle road trip. Bridal Veil Falls are visible from the road and near Savoy (about 13 miles into the canyon) and the Spearfish Canyon Lodge, there is a mile-long road to Roughlock Falls that is passable by both road and mountain bikes that makes a nice side trip.
Spearfish Canyon has started to develop a reputation for climbing and has been featured in many rock climbing magazines. With more than 300 routes up the limestone walls, there is suitable climbing for all skill levels. Climbing in the canyon is accessible year-round.
There are no rock climbing tour companies allowed in the canyon, but there are climbing guidebooks available. Look for Rock Climbing Guide, Spearfish Canyon Limestone by Bruce Junek.
Spearfish Creek provides some of the best trout fishing in the Black Hills. A fast-moving creek with fly-fishing access year round, the river is stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout. A fishing license is required and can be obtained from Queen City Liquors, Wal-Mart, Iron Lake General Store, and the K-Mart in Spearfish, or at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge in Savoy. A one-day license is $7 for residents and $14 for nonresidents.
There are 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Northern Hills. The parking lot for Trail #4 is located just west of the Spearfish Canyon Lodge. Weather in the hills is unpredictable. For trail conditions, call 800/445-3474.
Information about the trails can be obtained from South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (605/773-3391) and printable trail maps can be obtained at www.sdgfp.info.
There are three picnic areas along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Traveling from Spearfish to Lead, the first, Botany Bay Picnic Area is located 5–6 miles from the intersection of U.S. 14A and U.S. 14, inside the mouth of the canyon. This picnic area is named for the wide variety of unusual and rare plant species, including ancient ferns that can be found there. The Long Valley Picnic Area is another 5.2 miles past Botany Bay and has tables right next to the creek.
Roughlock Falls Picnic Area is located near the Spearfish Canyon Lodge in Savoy. Take a right just to the north of the lodge and follow the road one mile back. From the parking lot, a short walk will take you to picnic tables and to the cascading Roughlock Falls.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition