Spearfish, SD

Spearfish, SD

Spearfish, South Dakota is a lovely town and we really liked staying there for a week. The Black Hills begin just south of the town and is such a beautiful landscape. The historic Main Street was great to walk thru with boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, antique stores, a visitor center, and various other businesses that were all fully open, not boarded up as have other historic districts we have been in. The Fall Festival which occurred while we were here was a lot of fun also with lots of booths, fresh produce and performances from the local dance studio and lots of proud parents in attendance.

Even though Spearfish is just over 10,000 people, it’s likely about the 11th largest city in South Dakota. We liked that it still had access to good medical facilities (something we look for more often as we get older) as well as a Walmart, Tractor Supply and a good hardware store. After feeling like we have been in the middle of nowhere for quite a while, all these were important to us to get stocked back up.

Spearfish downtown clock tower with it’s hand painted globe

Spearfish Canyon

Within the Black Hills National Forest, Spearfish canyon extends for about 14 miles starting just south of the town of Spearfish and is a popular destination during the fall for people to view the fall colors. We drove through the canyon on a clear, warm day and even though the fall colors had not yet fully arrived, it was still quite colorful. Hiking to Spearfish Falls and Roughlock Falls was a little over a mile each and it was steep getting to the canyon floor to see the beautiful falls but so worth it. So glad the smoke from all the wildfires out west have not followed us here to Spearfish.

Bridal Veil Falls – Toward Fall the water is greatly reduced
Homestake Mining Company Hydro electric plant #2 built in 1917 used water from Spearfish Creek to generate power for its massive gold mine located in Lead, SD
Roughlock Falls area
Little Spearfish Creek downstream from Roughlock Falls
Roughlock Falls
Fall color along Little Spearfish Creek
Site where the Dances With Wolves final winter scene was filmed
Cliffs across the road from the site where the Dances With Wolves final winter scene was filmed
Spearfish Falls
Trout in clear and cold Spearfish Creek below Spearfish Falls

DC Booth Fish Hatchery

When we first heard that the DC Booth Fish Hatchery was one of the best museums in the area we were a bit skeptical. After visiting, we agree with the people who recommended it. Not only were the grounds beautiful but it was interesting finding out how they harvested trout eggs from Lake Yellowstone and not only brought them here but also how they shipped them all across the country to develop Trout for food as well as for recreational fishing.

Raceways used to rear trout year-round
Workers used boats like Yellowstone Boat #39 to collect Trout eggs in Yellowstone Lake to be shipped to various hatcheries across the country
The fisheries railcar recreation tells the story of an era when railroad cars were used to transport fish for brood stock supplies and stocking across the country
The Booth House constructed in 1905 as living quarters for hatchery superintendents and their families until 1983
Spring Stocking sculpture to honor the work and dedication of early hatchery workers and their important contributions to fisheries resources and American culture
Generations sculpture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the hatchery in 1996


We spent a few hours walking around the old mining town of Deadwood on a beautiful fall day. The likes of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane visited these same streets – in fact Wild Bill was killed in a bar in the lower Main Street area. Today there are mostly small hotels, bars and casinos along the street along with the standard tourist stops for t-shirts and curios.

Upper Main Street – The nicer part during the earlier days in Deadwood
Lower Main Street (The Badlands) – The seedier part of the earlier days in Deadwood
Former brothel in the lower Main Street area
The original location of Saloon #10 where Wild Bill Hickock was killed
Silly tourist attraction


We spent a couple of hours one day driving around Sturgis and meeting up with friends from Texas who also happened to be in the area. Based on pictures we had seen of the annual rally, we thought Sturgis might be a bit rougher looking but it wasn’t unlike many other small towns in this area with the exception of some very large saloons and bars. We found out that many of these large venues are only open for the rally and close the rest of the year. It’s amazing they can make enough money in just a couple of weeks to keep these places in business.

Welcome to Main Street Sturgis
Anna on her throne outside the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum
Sturgis Main Street. This part is filled with Motorcycles during the annual rally.
After lunch at the Side Hack Saloon & Grill with Kay and Darrell our friends from Texas

Park Review Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Site Quality / Amenities: The roads in the park are asphalt and the sites are concrete. There is a picnic table at each site but the only fire pits are community. There are two different shower houses, a guest laundry, onsite store and gift shop, swimming pool and hot tubs, basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts. The resort also has cabins for those without an RV.
Type: Commercial
Access: Easy access from exit 17, just south of Interstate 90.
Staff: Staff were friendly and helpful but other than checking in we didn’t really have any interaction with them.
Cellular/Wi-Fi: Verizon was very fast at 106 Mbps down and 18 Mbps up. AT&T was about 1/2 the download speed with similar upload speeds which is still fast. The park had Wi-Fi but we did not use it.
Restaurants: Steerfish Steak and Smoke – We both got steaks but Anna got their Steak Troubadour which was topped with shrimp and a parmesan cream sauce and it was very good. Green Bean Coffeehouse – Good coffee and sweets. They also donate part of their profits to veterans. Latchstring Restaurant – In Savoy (along the Spearfish Canyon byway) I got a huge burger and Anna had Trout. Both meals were very good. Leone’s Creamery – Believed by many to be the best ice cream in South Dakota – Yum!
Nearby parks: There are several parks nearby that looked good but we did not drive through them.
What we liked: Long pull through sites with lots of room between other sites. Nice store for any necessities during your stay. Clean and well kept with numerous amenities.
What we didn’t like: No fire pits at each site.
Both the park and Spearfish itself were very nice with plenty of shopping and restaurant options as well as numerous outdoor activities to explore. We’d definitely stay here again both in the area and at the park. This would be a good place to stay for the summer!

The old Lown Mercantile built in 1893, now the Steerfish restaurant
Proclaimed the best Ice Cream in South Dakota, Leones’ Creamery is adjacent to the old City Hall

3 thoughts on “Spearfish, SD

    1. I don’t know about the number of motorcycles but we heard from a waitress at the restaurant we went to than there were something like 1.2 million people there this year.

  1. Another fun adventure for y’all – Deadwood was one of our favorite little towns we visited this summer too. Would have been really cool had we been there at the same time as you were!

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