"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Spearfish, Deadwood & Waterfalls - South Dakota

Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Rocky Point Rec Area

Now that we have our tire issue taken care of and have my SD license, we are heading towards  North Dakota.  One more stop along the way in Belle Fourche.  Pronounced Bell Foosh. We'll be staying outside of town on a lake in the Rocky Point Rec Area.
It's a beautiful campground.  Sites are almost all waterfront and well spaced and private with electric.  Long driveways and plenty of nice green grass and trees.  Very clean campground.
We were in site 5.  $22.
The forecast for the next few days isn't good.  Heavy thunderstorms, more rain and snow.  At least we could hunker down for it and stay nice and warm.
When we passed through Spearfish we knew we wanted to come back to town to look around.  Such a cute place.  With the light snow, we just chose to go to a couple of breweries for some lunch.  First up was Spearfish Brewing.
Steve enjoyed the beer and we split a specialty burger.
Then we tried Sawyer Brewing Co.  They make great thin crust pizza.  The beer was good too.

The next day there was a break in the weather so we went in to the town of Belle Fourche.  It's a small town of around 5,000.  They used to be a main trading point for the nearby states of North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
The exciting thing for us was to visit the Geo-center of the US.  It used to be Kansas, but once Alaska and Hawaii were added it changed to SD.  The actual spot is in a field down a dirt road about 12 miles north of town so they put a big compass and info at the Visitor's Center.
They had an interesting Shoe Display going on.  Funny how small peoples feet were back then.

In the Orient small feet were desired and they really did some horrific things to accomplish that.  Shoes that bind your feet so tight when you take them off your foot looks like the shoe.  GROSS!
I liked the outgoing mailbox.
Outside the Visitor's Center is the Geo Center Compass.

It was really cool.  We did drive out to the actual spot but the wind picked up so bad it was blowing our truck around and the road was getting pretty muddy.  We didn't want to get stuck, so we turned back.  Another time.  -sigh-

We took a very short drive down the road from our campground to grab a geocache.  It was in plain site yet you'd never notice it in the endless hay fields even though it did have a small fence around it.  It was placed in a very historic spot that had no markings al all.  No signs.  Nothing.  The only way we found out about it was through this geocache called, Cold War Silo N7:

I didn't get a picture because there really isn't anything but hay bales.  I found this very fascinating and I'm glad we stopped for it.  These little gems are what keep Geocaching so fun!

Our last chance to get out for a drive to Deadwood after a morning snow.  Perfect timing between storms.  It was cold but the roads were clear.  The route we chose is called the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.  There are high limestone towering mountains in shades of brown, pink and gray on Highway 14A as it twists through the 20 mile gorge.  It starts at Exit 10 off Interstate 90 in Spearfish and connects to the canyon at the Spearfish Canyon Country Club.
You follow along Spearfish Creek as you drive.  I'd love to come back and fish this some time.
There are 3 waterfalls along this route. Bridal Veil Falls was first.  Very pretty to see in the snow.
This route is very popular with bikers too.

We stopped at Spearfish Canyon Lodge to warm up with some lunch.
View outside the windows.
Being out this time of year, in the snow, pretty much gave us the road and the lodge to ourselves.  We took a table right next to the fireplace and ordered a half sandwich/half bowl of soup.  Delicious!
Next to the lodge is the Spearfish Falls Trail.  It's a short mile and half.  We took Hurley out for this one.  He had a ball in the snow.

Spearfish Falls
We also found a geocache near the bridge.
Hurley loves a good snowball catching!
The trails goes a bit further if you take an offshoot along the river.  The water was so clear. It was very cold too.  Ask Hurley.
Then we took a side road to see Roughlock Falls.  It passes a pretty pond along the way.
Roughlock Falls

The sun peaked out to expose just a tiny slice of blue sky which made for nice reflections in the pond.
We saw several Marmots hanging around.
Then you pass the tiny Maurice Hydro Power Plant about midway through the Canyon where nearby there once was the Homestake Gold Mine operation in Lead, just a few miles up the road.  This section of the river was just jaw dropping for me.  Unbelievable beauty here.  The scenery looks like it could be in paintings. 
Again,  I sure would've loved to fish in the pools!

The Old Brick Hydro brick building in the background.
The tiny community of Cheyenne Crossing is a must see.  I hear they have great food also.  We'll have to stop here to eat if we come by another time in warmer months.  Their gift shop had some really unusual, homemade local items.  Also some yummy picnic food (cheese, crackers, jams, etc).  I'm a sucker for goat milk soap so I picked up a bar and I did get some great Goat Milk Lotion too.  They also have great free coffee!
We passed by a large bust of Lincoln at what looks like it used to be a park with busts of the presidents.  It's closed now but you can still see Lincoln just outside the gates.
We finally arrived in Deadwood.  What a fantastic place.  I'd heard of it but didn't know what it really was all about.  So much history here.
From Deadwood's website:
"The discovery of gold in the southern Black Hills in 1874 set off one of the great gold rushes in America. In 1876, miners moved into the northern Black Hills. That’s where they came across a gulch full of dead trees and a creek full of gold and Deadwood was born.
Practically overnight, the tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights – forever after known as the Dead Man’s Hand."
It's a beautiful town.  Gorgeous buildings and architecture.  Many unique shops and bars.

Unfortunately being off season and late on a Sunday, most places we wanted to go to were closed.

We chose Saloon #10.  It's where Wild Bill Hickok was assassinated by Jack McCall while playing a game of poker on August 2, 1876.  The chair he was sitting in is still here on display.  I was in the mood for a Bloody Mary and they did not disappoint.
It was getting late but we wanted to drive to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried.

It is a beautiful cemetery and we could've walked around much longer to look around.

As we walked back down the hill this squirrel decided to hide in the pipe.  Maybe he just wanted to get out of the cold too.
We stopped at a Walmart once we were back in Spearfish to pickup a few things for dinner.  This was NOT one of them!
We enjoyed our stay even though it was some of our worst weather.  We almost had to move out due to flooding but that was not the case this time.  This is an area we'll come back to again as there is so much in the Black Hills.  This was our third time through and we always find so much.


  1. There is so much to see in this area, you can see why we love it so much and picked it as our home base. Great seeing you goys..... Y'all come back now ya hear?!

  2. Spectacular scenery! Here it is almost the middle of July and I almost had to put on a coat with all those wintery looking pics! Safe travels!

    1. We had such a looooon winter, but it seems like a long time ago!

  3. Great scenery on your drive. I especially like the ones with the lake reflection. Glad Hurley enjoyed his walk and snowball catching :-) I haven't made it, but I've heard that chicken feet are the main ingredient used to make chicken broth in an Instant Pot.

    1. You let me know how that recipe comes out ;-)

  4. Yes, the scenery is stunning. I think the snow really added to your photographs. We love the Black Hills and plan on returning for more visits.

  5. Such a nice area even when it is chilly.

    1. It was very nice to see it in the snow. I'm just a bit bummed we've had to pass on so many trails due to so much snow and cold, windy conditions.

  6. We had a great time when we were in Deadwood a few years ago. Thanks for the beautiful pictures with the snow on the ground. It was late summer when we were there.

    1. It was really pretty with the snow. We do want to go back when it's warmer too to do more hiking and fishing.


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