The Spectacular Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway in the Black Hills


Today, we drive up the spectacular Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, hike to a local swimming hole called Devil’s Tub, and take a detour to the highly revered Crow Peak Brewery.

Spearfish Canyon is one of the most picturesque areas in the state so make sure to add it to your South Dakota itinerary! 

A small picturesque pond off Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.
There are so many beautiful pull-offs on Spearfish Canyon National Scenic Byway.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

The 22-mile drive is north of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway and Custer State Park along Highway 14A. It’s the perfect route to combine with a visit to the old historic town of Deadwood from Custer State Park.

The southern terminus of the drive officially begins at Cheyenne Crossing outside of Lead and ends at the town of Spearfish. 

You’ll be greeted by a striking landscape of soaring limestone bluffs, glistening creeks, colorful wildflowers, and three flowing waterfalls. 

Fun Fact: The winter camp in the movie, Dances with Wolves, was filmed just north of Roughlock Falls about three miles upstream from the Spearfish Canyon Resort. A small sign signifies the final scene’s filming location. 

Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Scenic Byway Map – Our Route from Custer State Park
Things to do on a drive through Spearfish Canyon.
Stunning View of Spearfish Canyon

If you are heading to South Dakota, check out our Black Hills itinerary!

Best Time to Visit

The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is breathtaking during all times of the year, but fall is a particularly impressive season. Mid-September through early-October ushers in magnificent fall foliage color. 

Spearfish Canyon Waterfalls

1. Roughlock Falls

The first Spearfish Canyon waterfall you’ll come across from the south is Roughlock Falls. The handicap-accessible trail is an easy 2-mile roundtrip stroll behind the Spearfish Canyon Lodge along FSR 222. 

Spearfish Canyon Waterfalls - Roughlock Falls
The base of Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon.
Flowers on the railing to Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon.
Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon.


2. Spearfish Falls

If you only have time for one waterfall hike, make it Spearfish Falls. Located near Latchstring Restaurant, the trailhead from the parking lot will bring you to the base of the 47-foot cascading fall. 

Spearfish Falls boardwalk in South Dakota.
Spearfish Falls on the Spearfish Scenic Byway
Spearfish Canyon Waterfalls
The base of Spearfish Falls

3. Bridal Veil Falls

The last waterfall on Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is Bridal Veil Falls which can be seen from the car. I still recommend getting out and adventuring closer though via the boardwalk. 

The falls are stronger during the spring after heavy rains but are still worth a stop during the summer and fall season. 

Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls in the Summer

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon Things to Do 

Devil’s Bathtub

Between Spearfish Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, we saw cars lined up at a trailhead and thought maybe it was an additional waterfall we didn’t know about. 

When we stopped and asked someone ready to make the hike, they told us it was to Devil’s Bathtub, a local hangout to swim. 

TIP: Devil’s Bathtub Trailhead is now on Google Maps just north of Victoria. 

Spearfish Canyon
Devil’s Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon
Hike to Devil’s Bathtub, a local swimming hole

The trail is not well-marked, there were many times we weren’t even sure we were going the right way. We had to cross the stream via big branches or rocks multiple times.

I lost my footing once and one foot went in the water, oops. We eventually found Devil’s Tub and if we had our swimsuits would have absolutely jumped in! It’s a relatively short 1.1-mile hike – around 45 minutes – to get to the water where you’ll find a few tubs to swim in. 

If you are visiting during the summer, it’s definitely worth the hike to have a unique experience hanging out at a “cool” local swimming hole. 

Like chasing waterfalls? How about 11 Amazing Waterfall Hikes in America

The Devil's Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon
Devil’s Bathtub in South Dakota

Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish

Nothing like an ice-cold beer to top off your busy day! Thrillist named Crow Peak Brewery the best craft brewery in the state of South Dakota so we had to stop by.

Located in north Spearfish, the two-story building has indoor and outdoor seating with a great view of Crow Peak, hence the name. 

They were all out of their popular Canyon Cream Ale, but we grabbed a sampler and tried a few different ones. The 11th Hour IPA flagship beer is a must-try!

Spearfish Canyon things to do include a detour to Crow Peak Brewing Company.
Crow Peak Brewery is a great final stop on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.


Another Beautiful Sunset at Custer State Park

After a day of exploring, we head back to our base camp at Stockade Campground; today will go down as another fantastic day.

And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 13 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces and 13 national parks.
Miles Driven Today: 199, Total Miles Driven: 1,628, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.29, States: South Dakota
Follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If you would like to see our full summer road trip itinerary, start at the beginning North American Road Trip 80 Day Itinerary. And Start at Day One Road Trip Day 1.

Spearfish Canyon

Other Spearfish Canyon Things to Do

  • High Plains Heritage Museum
  • D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery
  • Crow Peak Trail
  • Iron Creek Lake

Have any questions for us? Ask us in the comments below!

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Spearfish Canyon


Follow Angela:

Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

4 Responses

  1. Kim B

    Hey Dang,
    Thank you again for the information on this area. Hubby and I will definitely take the scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon.
    Over the past 10 years I have been exploring many more of the designated scenic drives and have been delighted with what I have found.

    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful trip.

    Kim B

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