Sunday, July 30, 2017

2017, July 27 -28 - Sundance and Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive

We arrived at the Mountain View RV Park & Campground in Sundance Wyoming around 2pm with enough time to set up camp before it started to pour. It rained all afternoon and night, which was good as it washed the coach. Here we have a magnificent view, sitting INS hill overlooking the valley below us through the windshield. This campground is on two levels, each at a higher elevation, so most campers have a good view. In our case we are at a pull-thru that comes around from the back to the front, so our view is to the front. We also have one of the widest sites, as the ones on the lower level are actually quite narrow and close to one's neighbor (about 20'-25' per site) whereas ours is about 40' width. 

On Friday (28th) we went for a drive to Spearfish Wyoming, which is a well-to-do town of about 10,500 residents. There,on the way back, we stopped at a Safeway which was very well stocked. From Spearfish we drove to the beautiful Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive and enjoyed two hikes on trails to see the Little Spearfish Creek Falls and the Roughlock Falls.
The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway throngs with summertime pleasure drivers. Thousand-foot-high limestone palisades in shades of brown, pink and gray tower to the right and left of Highway 14A as it twists through the 19-mile gorge.

The 22-mile journey begins at Exit 10 (or Exit 14) off Interstate 90 in Spearfish and connects to the mouth of the canyon at the Spearfish Canyon Country Club. From the other end, turning off of Highway 85 at Cheyenne Crossings does the reverse route to Spearfish. We did the former route, traveling 20 or so miles through some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll find to Cheyenne Crossing ((just outside of Lead, which by the way is just outside of Deadwood) and then doubling back to Spearfish, seeing it all over again with a different perspective, returning. 

Spearfish Creek lines the canyon floor while canyon waterfalls make for popular roadside attractions. Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls are must-sees along the route, though we missed Bridal Veil Falls,doing only the Roughlock and Little Spearfish Creek Falls. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but you’ll find so many drivers enthralled by the beauty, they drive even slower. Others simply pull over at one of the dozens of pull-offs along the way and get out to stretch their legs and capture the perfect Kodak (or Panasonic/Canon/iPhone in our case) moment.

The red brick walls and large plate windows of the Maurice Hydro Power Plant about midway through the Canyon offer a reminder of the Homestake Gold Mine operation in Lead, just a few miles up the road.

Other stops along the way are Spearfish Canyon Lodge and the Latchstring Restaurant. Cheyenne Crossing Store & Café at the other end of the canyon is also said to be a stop not to be missed, but we did not stop there anxious to get back to see the canyon all over again.
On the Roughlock Trail to the Falls we met a delightful couple from Wyoming (and their dog "Olive", a very sweet and well-behaved Labradoodle). We apologize that we didn't get their names but being dog-people seeking others' dogs for our dog 'fix' we usually get the dog's name first, and above all. Anyway their photo is included herein and we very much enjoyed chatting with them while visiting their State.

Of interest, hikers enjoy exploring the side canyons like Iron Creek or Eleventh Hour Gulch, aptly named because it only gets one hour of sunlight a day; and bicyclists love the wide shoulders and uniform 3% grade of the road. 

Famous for its beauty, Spearfish Canyon was the location for several scenes in the movie epic, “Dances with Wolves.” The site is on Forest Road 222 about three miles upstream from Spearfish Canyon Resort.

As the elevation changes nearly 2,000 feet from one end of the Canyon to the other, the weather and temperatures can change suddenly but we had a wonderful day of approx 75-82 degrees F to experience and explore the nature, history and adventure of the Black Hills with a drive through the Spearfish Canyon on the Scenic Drive. Here are some of our photos... Hope you enjoy seeing them, as much as we enjoyed taking them.

Cheyenne Crossing at the other end of Spearfish Canyon

Little Spearfish Creek Falls

 Roughlock Falls

 The couple from Wyoming we met at Roughlock Falls...  and 'Olive' (Labraoodle)
 Scenes from the roadway back to Sundance (follows)

 This is Vore Buffalo Jump where the Indians used to hunt bison by stampeding
them over a cliff to their own deaths. We passed on visiting that place.

Believe it or not this is actually a wind vane. The propellers turn with the wind,
and so does the airplane with the direction of the wind... kind of cool.

 A lock to control the flow of water
 Mary posing...

 Spearfish Canyon Lodge (side entrance)
 This is Spearfish Creek, which follows along the side of the Highway 14A

 Of Days gone by.... Homestake Mining Company (Lead, Wy)
Hydro Electric Plant No. 3 (no longer in operation)

Spearfish Country Club in Spearfish, Wyoming
And back at our campground, Mountain View RV Park in Sundance, WY..
Our coach (the silver bullet) is on the higher level,
left, just behind the propane tanks (below it)
Our roadway to our coach (upper level)...
Next, Devils Tower (July 29,2017)....


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