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A Cruise Through the Canyon

Heading to Spearfish Canyon to explore and see the colors has become an annual tradition for my fiancé’s family and I each fall. This year we were fortunate to have chosen a weekend when the experts predicted the colors to be at about 95% (in other words: lots of pretty colors everywhere!). The six of us loaded up and headed out on the 45 minute drive from Rapid City to the canyon.

To get the most out of a trip through Spearfish Canyon you need to think of it more like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Sure, there are the obvious stops of Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls, but you’ll be amazed at what you find when you’re flexible and open to trying something new and unexpected.

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Ryan had heard of this cool place called the “Eleventh Hour” and since we weren’t in any rush we decided to do some exploring (once we found it). Rumor has it this is a full trail, but we weren’t looking for that big of an adventure that afternoon. Instead, we took 45 minutes to just explore and take photos of the area. Eleventh Hour is this really cool area of boulders, a flowing stream and, of course, fall foliage. As you climb up the trail there are two areas where someone has built some ladders that lead you up through boulder tunnels and amazing views.

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You probably are really inspired and wanting to find this spot now, and I would tell you how to get there, except I really don’t remember. Here’s the advice I’ll give you about the Canyon in general: If you see a spot that looks like you can pull off the road, do it. You’ll find there are plenty of trail-like areas so just explore (just don’t do this in someone’s driveway/backyard…that’s plain rude). Also, don’t go so deep in the woods you’ll get yourself lost. Take a few minutes to enjoy the sights, take some photos, and simply be. You’ll be really amazed at the serenity you’ll experience just in those few moments.

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After a bit of exploring I would still encourage you to head to Roughlock Falls. We always take some time to stop here not only for the waterfalls, but because it is perfect to let the kids safely explore. There are sidewalks, secure hand rails and lookout points throughout the area, making it something people of all ages can comfortably enjoy.

Come explore and make memories with your loved ones! That laundry can wait to be folded and, let’s be honest, you’ve been telling yourself for months that you’re going to clean out that closet. You’ll remember these moments long after that to-do list is completed. We have plenty of resources to help you plan your trip from sample itineraries and top 10 lists to our Visitors Guide and a site full of things to do. Don’t forget that if you absolutely love reading about my love of coffee, crazy explorations and the occasional photo of my adorable dog you can subscribe to the blog! It will ensure you don’t miss one line of sarcasm from yours truly.

Meet the Author

Shiloh Francis

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

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Shiloh Francis
Guest Blogger

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

Shiloh is a transplant to Rapid City, having fallen in love with the area during family vacations and deciding to make it her permanent vacation after graduating from college. Traveling and discovering new places has always been a passion for Shiloh, but she loves the site of coming home to Rapid City each time the plane lands at the end of one of her adventures. Despite now being considered a local, she doesn’t let that stop her from taking time to play “tourist” in her own backyard. Shiloh is your go-to source for pup-spiration (all things pet-friendly), the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee or great bite to eat, and helping you find those hidden gems on your next vacation.

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