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.