Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
State: South Dakota
National Forest: Black Hills National Forest
Length: 20.0 mi / 32.2 km
Time to Allow: Approximately 40 minutes
The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, located in the northern Black Hills, is unique because the view is always close to the visitor and always upward. The narrow canyon walls rise sharply skyward from Spearfish Creek and the highway sculpted along the canyon bottom. A forest of spruce, pine, aspen, birch, and oak covers much of the hillsides. Above these slopes, the skyline is topped with an extensive ridge of vertical walled limestone cliffs.
From a distance, the light-absorbing Ponderosa pine makes the hill country of South Dakota seem dark, more black than green, giving the country the name of Black Hills. Naturalists appreciate the incredible diversity in the Black Hills; prospectors still mine the gold beneath the surface. And as the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway cuts through the Black Hills, it melds all elements of the Black Hills legacy into a single experience.