The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is one of those drives that visitors from all over the country love to take during the summer. You'll be immersed with limestone palisades that reach over 1,000 feet above you. The 22-mile scenic drive of twisting highway begins at either Exit 10 or Exit 14 off Interstate 90 in Spearfish and connects to the mouth of the canyon at the Spearfish Canyon Country Club. If you're coming from the other direction, turn at the Cheyenne Crossing just outside of Lead at the intersection of Highway 85. You'll begin a journey of some of the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring scenery you'll ever see.
Spearfish Creek follows the canyon floor while the waterfalls provide photo opportunities all along the drive. Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls are just a couple of the "must-see" attractions along the drive. Not only is the area a great scenic drive, it's full of hiking spots for the outdoors enthusiast. Hikers enjoy exploring the side canyons like Iron Creek or Eleventh Hour Gulch. Bicyclists love the wide shoulders and the uniform 3% grade. In fact, Bicycling Magazine has named Spearfish Canyon one of the top 50 scenic bike paths in the country.
The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive any time of year, but fall offers the most colorful drive through Spearfish Canyon, as the leaves turn shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red that contrasts beautifully to the backdrop of the evergreen trees that line the canyon. We would definitely recommend this drive to anyone who visits, but those guests who visit during the last week of September to the first week of October are truly in for a treat.
One of the highlights of Spearfish Canyon is Roughlock Falls. Roughlock Falls is, widely considered one of the most beautiful locations in the Black Hills. In fact, the cinematographers for the motion picture "Dances with Wolves" decided to shoot the movie's final scenes here because of the stunning beauty.
The name Roughlock Falls originates from difficulties early settlers encountered while traveling through Spearfish Canyon. To prevent wagons from sliding the slope, wagon drivers would "roughlock" the wheels of their wagons with logs or chains.
Visitors can fish or picnic in the nature area surrounding Roughlock Falls. The canyon itself is also a spectacular place to explore with several designated walking paths and hiking trails.
Bridal Veil Falls is extremely easy to locate. It can be seen right from the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. This 60-foot waterfall is aptly named because the shape of the water resembles a Victorian lace bridal veil as it thinly cascades the limestone and other rocks.
The Bridal Veil Falls is located approximately six miles from the Spearfish entrance to Spearfish Canyon. There is ample parking along the side of the byway for viewers to park and a cross-walk to safely get from parking to the viewing platform.
The best time of the year to view this Bridal Veil Falls is in the spring when the snow is melting.