Just got back from a trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota and despite having all the best intentions to blog about the trip while I was there, I ended up just relaxing and keeping busy with lots of hiking around. That means that I’m going to turn this post into a photo dump post and briefly run down what we did each day.
As a note, all photos were taken on an iPhone 11 Pro. I normally would have had my Sony a6000 with me but it’s currently on loan to a photography student who needed it for school.
For long driving trips I often include day zero because we can often squeeze in a few sites throughout the day. However, on this trip about the only thing I managed to take a photo of was the stockpile of beer that I purchased when we pulled in to town.
We rented a small, restored CCC cabin near Nemo, SD and loved having a small quiet place in the middle of nowhere to retreat to at the end of each day. Our first day was spent with a hike on the Centennial Trail near Dalton Lake, followed by a climb up half of Bear Butte outside Sturgis, SD. Between my vertigo and my wife’s knee surgery recovery we decided to call it good when we reached the shorter of the two peaks. It was still an amazing view.
Our second day began with a hike on the Elk Canyon Trail, which is a small nearby route that was constructed by the host of our cabin. It was a magnificent little route, and if we had known about it sooner I think I would have spent more time on it the first day as well. After our morning hike we headed to Spearfish, SD to take the drive down Spearfish Canyon. The highlight of which was the short walk to Roughlock Falls, passing by crystal clear streams and magnificent rock faces. We also hit Spearfish Falls before heading up past Deadwood, SD to Mount Roosevelt and the Roosevelt Tower. From this tower we got a sweeping view of the entire landscape, including some rain clouds in the distance that we watched pass over where our cabin was. We decided to relax on the tower for a bit longer to let the storms pass before heading back.
This was our shortest day, as we wanted some time to unwind before packing up for the 9 hour drive home on day 4. We did manage a lovely walk on the Centennial Trail near Sheridan Lake, which really gave me a lot of North Shore Minnesota vibes. From there we headed in to Hill City, SD to visit the prehistoric museum, a couple of breweries, and a short drive back to our cabin through more stunning rock faces.
Although our fourth day was consumed by a 9 hour drive we did partake of a couple quick stops. This included a first in my life stop at Wall Drug. Before anyone criticizes, we were lured in by signs touring fresh donuts. Our visit consisted of waiting for 5 minutes until the doors opened, grabbing a couple donuts, and hitting the road again. However… WOW those donuts were amazing. That was probably the best maple glazed donut I’ve ever had. Perfect crispiness on the edges and the glaze wasn’t overly sweet. Really happy about that stop. Secondly, we took a rest at the Dignity: of Earth & Sky statute. This is an amazing piece of artwork honors that Native cultures of the Dakota’s and is breathtaking to view. Perched on the banks of the Missouri River it glints in the sunlight and is beautiful from any angle.
It was a wonderful to spend time someplace different without much agenda beyond our own desires. We saw some great things, got some exercise and had a lot of fun just relaxing.
Coming soon… a review of some western South Dakota breweries.