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Seven Things to Do in Spearfish, SD

Adventure, scenery, culture top a diverse list

By Kevin Litwin on June 1, 2015

Children plan on an old fire truck in Spearfish, SD.
Spearfish

Tourists come to Spearfish, S.D., for the sunlight and serenity found in the northern Black Hills. Located about halfway between Mount Rushmore National Park and Devils Tower National Monument, Spearfish provides residents with a range of things to do, which helped the city earn a spot on our Top 100 Best Small Towns list. Visitors and locals have access to plenty of recreational and cultural offerings, such as:

Take a Beautiful Drive

Set your vehicle’s cruise control to 35 mph (the speed limit) and experience Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, situated in Spearfish Canyon. You’ll see waterfalls, a 19-mile gorge, limestone cliffs that are thousands of feet high, and everything from spring flowers to fall colors. Several pull-offs and overlooks are available for motorists to soak up the magnificence.

See Incredible Animals

Take a walk on the wild side at Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, where big animals walk around everywhere. Tour guides will show you bears, lions, peacocks, buffaloes and camels, with all of the 300 animals rescued from bad experiences (mostly abandoned by exotic pet owners). The sanctuary provides animals with safe and comfortable surroundings in natural habitat settings.

Make a Big Splash

Cool off during the warm-weather months at Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center, with attractions like big water slides, a lazy river, spray fountains and a huge water dump bucket. Known for its cleanliness and safety, also on site are zero-entry and shallow kiddie pools.

Attend a Show

Catch a concert, play or independent film at Matthews Opera House & Arts Center, which schedules many programs throughout the year. The recently renovated 1890s building on Main Street also has a modern art gallery, plus the Matthews board of directors presents an annual arts-based Festival in the Park each July that attracts 30,000 attendees.

Drink Up

Raise your glass at a couple of establishments in Spearfish that serve adult beverages. Spearfish Creek Wine Bar offers a multitude of wine selections along with other cocktails, beer and food, while Crow Peak Brewing Company has about 10 microbrews with names like Canyon Cream Ale and Pile O’ Dirt Porter.

Have an Adventure

Go mountain biking, rock climbing, fly fishing or backpacking during excursions at various Spearfish area sites, including Lookout Mountain Park, Crow Peak and Roughlock Falls Nature Area. For hikers wanting a more difficult challenge, try Devil’s Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon – there’s plenty of water, and you will definitely get wet. Other top adventure spots include Little Spearfish Trail, Little Spearfish Creek, Rimrock Trail as well as ’76 Trail, a quick but challenging pathway that climbs 700 feet in less than a half mile.

Enjoy Other Spots

Golfers can go clubbing at the nine-hole Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club, while diners will enjoy restaurants such as Bay Leaf Café, whose menu ranges from Black Hills trout to Mediterranean falafel. For shoppers, Spearfish has plenty of boutiques, a Main Street Mini Mall, and a This & That Outlet.

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