Located between the Midwest and the Rockies, the High Plains encompass much of South Dakota including the Black Hills. Back in the late 1800s Spearfish was known as Queen City. It is now home to Black Hills State University and to many locals who enjoy the exceptional natural beauty that surrounds the town. Stay at one of the Spearfish hotels listed below to get your own taste of that beauty and explore the area’s myriad attractions, which include:
Start your visit by getting the lay of the land on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, which travels through the town itself before connecting to Spearfish Canyon. From there, the road goes on for 20 miles of beautiful scenery, once known as the nation’s “last frontier.” Lakota religious leader Black Elk, conservationist John Muir, Calamity Jane and President Teddy Roosevelt all spent significant time here. You can follow in their footsteps through this beautiful drive though aspens, Ponderosa Pines and more. Be sure to check out Bridal Veil Falls, everyone’s favorite stop for a photo op!
Bring your kids to the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery for an afternoon that will be fun for everyone. Buy some bagged food at the gift shop and feed the fish and the ducks. Go underground to watch the giant trout swimming right next to you. Learn about the role of hatcheries in keeping fish populations stable. Check out the museum for more information and let your kids board the train car. This is the oldest continuously operating fish hatchery in the United States so be sure to stop in and enjoy!
From fish to feline, your next stop in Spearfish is the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Informal enclosures built into the hills house animals from mountain lions to black bears and from peacocks to pigs. Take a guided tour that will tell you about each animal, how it came to live at the sanctuary and the role of its species in the wild. Educating visitors about the factors that contribute to the various species’ endangerment is one of the sanctuary’s priorities, and you can watch presentations illustrating the dangers of keeping exotic pets and what happens to unwanted ones.
There may not have been crows at the wildlife sanctuary, but you will see them on some of the cans and taps at the Crow Peak Brewing Company, the Black Hills’ premier microbrewery. Try the Canyon Cream Ale (named for Spearfish Canyon), the Pile-o-Dirt Porter, the 11th Hour IPA or one of the many seasonal or small-batch brews as you enjoy the scenic views from the tap room. The brewery offers individual and small group tours: call ahead for an appointment.
Next you can visit the Western Heritage Center to get a sense of the Black Hills’ history. The center features a wide range of western artifacts, a theater, a transportation room (complete with Concord Stagecoach, buggies and sleighs), and cowboy and Native American memorabilia (including items from Custer's last stand). Outside you can visit a furnished one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, and farm and ranch equipment. Make sure that you stop and pet the bison on your way in or out!
Spend an afternoon or evening at the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center for community theater, lectures and live music. There is truly something here for everyone. The Bellman Brown Bag series presents programs on the second Wednesday of each month at noon and explores ideas, history, art, literature and culture. There is an art gallery with rotating exhibits, book discussion groups, a foreign film series and more. Check the center’s Website or inquire at the front desk for information on what is happening there while you are in town.
Spearfish is an ideal family vacation spot if you are interested in learning about the outdoors. Go back in time via museums or check out the exhibits at the Matthews Art Center. You can hang out with the fish at the hatchery or just enjoy a local brew at Crow Peak. No matter what your family’s interests, there is something here for you. Stay at one of the Spearfish, South Dakota hotels listed below for the ultimate in relaxation and convenience on your memorable western outing.
Deadwood, SD, US, 57732
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