Cascade Falls, South Dakota

Cascade Falls is an interesting waterfall. It’s not tall, even when compared to the other waterfalls in the area. It’s wider than some of the other falls. To me, the thing that catches my eye is the rock that makes up the drop on the river. I think it must come from the minerals in the springs surrounding the falls. It almost looks manmade, but seems to be a product of nature.

There is a designated park (JH Keith Cascade Falls Picnic Area), so it’s not difficult to find. Once you get to the parking area, it’s a rather easy walk to the falls. I’ve read that the falls are a popular swimming place in the river. The water isn’t wildly warm, but it sounds like it’s consistently warm enough to swim in. I didn’t try to swim in early May even though it was warm enough.


  1. The falls are south of Hot Springs, where you can find Kidney Springs Falls and possibly another waterfall.
  2. Drive south along SD-71 for 10 miles from Hot Springs. JH Keith Cascade Falls Picnic Area will be on your right if you are heading south.
  3. From the parking area, walk west toward Cascade Creek.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Cascade Falls in May 2016

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?


Kidney Springs Falls, South Dakota

Kidney Springs Falls (4)

Kidney Springs Falls in May 2016

I’m not really sure how I stumbled upon Kidney Springs Falls. I was visiting South Dakota in May 2016, and I had a list of known waterfalls in South Dakota and Nebraska that I knew I was going to visit. But sometimes I get to a location, and I search on Google Maps or on the Internet, and I think Kidney Springs popped up, and I saw some pictures of a Kidney Springs Falls, and so I, on the spur of the moment, decided to go and check it out.

Kidney Springs Falls may be a long drive from the other falls, but once you arrive in Kidney Springs, it’s a very easy waterfall to find. There’s a parking area along North River Street that allows you to view the falls from across the Falls River. If you want a closer view, I seem to remember that there was a way to cross a bridge to get across the river, and then hike along a trail that leads you directly to the falls. But either way, neither option was a difficult choice. The waterfall doesn’t usually have much water flowing over it, but it is still pretty nonetheless.

Now, if that doesn’t seem worth it, there may be another waterfall within 5 miles of Kidney Springs Falls, but I had difficulty finding it. The Falls River, which Kidney Springs Falls drops into, seems to have a waterfall along it, which may possibly be accessed off of US-18 (which leads into Kidney Springs). I think I remember driving by and not seeing an easy way to view it, but County Highway 79F might lead you to a view of the falls. In 2016, there were no photos of the falls on Google Maps, but in 2019, there are some photos, so it seems like it may be accessible. (If it ends up being on private property, please respect that and don’t visit the falls.)


  1. US-385 South or US-18/US-385 North both lead into Kidney Springs.
  2. You want to find North River Street, which is in Kidney Springs (and kind of follows US-385, though I don’t know if that stretch is officially designated as US-385).
  3. The Falls River runs adjacent to North River Street, and so you want to park along North River Street, and then view the falls from there, or head across the river and get an up-close view.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Kidney Springs Falls?

Roughlock Falls, South Dakota

Roughlock Falls (99)

Roughlock Falls in May 2016

As you head further west in South Dakota, you start finding some really beautiful scenery. One of those places is Spearfish Canyon. It’s definitely got the western feel to it. Spearfish Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are two of the popular waterfalls in the canyon. Bridal Veil Falls is the easiest to visit, right off the road. Spearfish Falls isn’t difficult to visit, just a bit hard to find at first. Roughlock Falls is the third main waterfall, and it too is pretty easy to find.

Roughlock Falls is on Little Spearfish Creek, with Roughlock Falls upstream and Spearfish Falls downstream (on the same creek) just as it merges with Spearfish Creek. You can take a longer hike to get to the falls from the Roughlock Falls Trailhead near the Spearfish Canyon Lodge. It’s a beautiful hike along the creek, and comes in at just under 1 mile one-way. I remember the hike being pretty easy. If you decide you don’t want to walk that far, there’s also a parking area only about 400 feet from the falls. I didn’t regret the longer hike one bit.

I did show up at a time of day when the sun was out and intense. It made photographing these and the other falls a bit more difficult, but you can’t predict what the weather is going to be like. It was early May, and yet the temperatures were rather warm. It did get a bit cold at night, so make sure to bring layers. (And early May seemed to be a great time to visit. Some of the hotels were running $40 a night. Later in the summer, good luck trying to find a room.)


  1. In Spearfish, follow the signs for Spearfish Canyon. This will be US-14 ALT. Continue along this curving road until you reach an intersection where you’ll find the Latchstring Restaurant and Spearfish Lodge.
  2. At this junction, head west along Roughlock Falls Road. The trailhead for the longer hike is right after the lodge. Drive further down to get to the other parking area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy from parking area), 8/10 (easy/moderate from trailhead)
Height: ~30′
Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip from parking area; 1.8 miles from trailhead

Where in the World is Roughlock Falls?

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

It’s an interesting question…why do many cities with “Falls” in the name not have waterfalls in the city? For some cities, it might be that there used to be a waterfall there, but a dam or something of the sort is hiding the falls. Or it could be somebody just liked the name? Sioux Falls is one of the cities that DOES have a waterfall in its boundaries, and you should check it out.

I arrived in Sioux Falls at the airport, and it wasn’t a difficult drive to get to the Sioux Falls park. Some colleagues and I ate at a restaurant that ended up being pretty close by. There are a number of parking areas, so it can be a bit of a shot in the dark about which of them might be full on a busy day.

Sioux Falls has a few minor drops before plunging over in its biggest drop along the river. It was a beautiful day in Sioux Falls, so it was a pleasure to explore the area. It doesn’t take long to visit the park, though there are a number of other points of interest in or near the park.


  1. There are so many different ways to get to the park that I’m going to suggest you direct yourself via GPS. You can see a map of the park below. Parking is available on both sides of the park off of Phillips Avenue or Weber Avenue. It is free to visit the park.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 50′ total (with largest drop at 25′)
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip (there is a bit of walking involved)


Sioux Falls in July 2017

Where in the World is Sioux Falls?

Bridal Veil Falls, South Dakota


Bridal Veil Falls in May 2016

Bridal Veil Falls is likely one of the more iconic sites in the Black Hills. If you’re entering the Black Hills from Spearfish, it’s one of the first sites that you’re going to encounter, at it’s a beautiful waterfall.

Bridal Veil Falls has many things going for it. It’s wildly easy to visit, as it’s a roadside waterfall. Spearfish Falls and Roughlock Falls are both in the vicinity, but both of those require slightly more effort to visit (though Roughlock Falls is easier to visit than I expected). All three waterfalls in the area are also free to visit! And finally, as I said before, this waterfall is a beautiful waterfall. It sort of just magically appears, and is surrounded by beautiful scenery.

When I visited these three falls in early May, it was quiet in the Black Hills. Many people visit in the summer, and then the area becomes very popular. At certain times, you may not be able to find hotel rooms. I, on the other hand, had a whole hotel to myself. And the weather was particularly beautiful the five days I was in the region. I would still suggest visiting in the late spring when you may not be surrounded by hoards of other people.


  1. There are a few different ways to arrive at the falls. I approached from a different way than most people, so I’ll tell you one easy way to arrive at the falls. From I-90, take either exit 12 or 14.
  2. Head generally south toward US-14 ALT. This is really the road you really want to find, as this leads directly into Spearfish Canyon. This is known as Spearfish Canyon Highway.
  3. Drive a few miles along this road. I don’t think a distance is necessary, as you should see the falls to your left. The parking area is across the road on your right (all assuming you’re heading south).

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: ~60′
Hike: not applicable, roadside

Where in the World is Bridal Veil Falls?

Spearfish Falls, South Dakota


Spearfish Falls in May 2016

I’ve been wanting to visit Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota for a number of years now, but for some reason have never taken the time to visit. (Flying into Rapid City is generally more expensive than some other places, which may play a factor in my decisions.) I made the decision to visit this year, though, and have now had the pleasure of visiting the Black Hills and Spearfish Canyon.

South Dakota has a number of waterfalls (compared to North Dakota, which apparently only has ONE). There are three clearly advertised waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon: Spearfish Falls, Roughlock Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. I’ve come to believe that there could be more than expected. (Check out Annie Creek Falls and the Devil’s Bathtub for at least two other waterfalls that aren’t as well advertised.) All three of the advertised waterfalls are easy to visit.

Spearfish Falls is found near the Latchstring Restaurant, which I would suggest stopping at to eat. (Support businesses that support waterfalls!) They have changed the path to the falls, and at first glance, it appeared that the trail was still closed. After eating, I asked someone at the restaurant about the falls, and she said that it was fine to walk to the falls even with the sign up. With that blessing, I went to see Spearfish Falls.

From the restaurant parking area, you head to the right. Cross the stream that turns into Spearfish Falls. Keep along the trail heading toward a house, but then veer right down a set of stairs. These stairs will turn into metal stairs and then a metal bridge crosses over another river. After crossing that river, the trail veers slightly to the left to avoid going on private property. From there, just follow the trail downhill. It’s pretty difficult to miss the falls! You’ll be rewarded with some pretty spectacular views.


  1. In Spearfish, follow the signs for Spearfish Canyon. This will be US-14 ALT. Continue along this curving road until you reach an intersection where you’ll find the Latchstring Restaurant and Spearfish Lodge.
  2. Park at the Latchstring Restaurant, and then follow the directions given above. (You can also access this from the opposite direction, as I did, since I stayed in Lead.)

Accessibility: 8/10 (stairs, and a bit steep)
Height: 47′
Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip (at the most), seemed MUCH shorter

Where in the World is Spearfish Falls?