Welcome back! Glad to see that my writing hasn’t bored you thus far. either that, or you’re really bored and just looking for something to do to kill time. Either way, I hope you find this informative, enjoyable, and looking forward to your next rest day in Spearfish. I’ve found that the best rest day activities are the ones where you’re actually out exploring! Do something new, especially if it’s your first time in Spearfish.
Who doesn’t love a good Trivia Night? Go and enjoy some brews and settle in for some of the hardest rivals you’ll encounter at the local pub, Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Spearfish. They host trivia every Thursday night, so gather a team and be ready to put your knowledge to the test. Best thing to do to prepare is study your little brains out. You should definitely eat before attending. They only serve Red Baron Frozen Pizzas there for food.
One of my favorite rest day activities is going to the lake with my climbing friends. Bring the sunscreen, water, and stock up that cooler with goodies! There are tons of lakes are nearby – and by nearby I mean about 1 hour to 2 hour drive from Hanna campground as a reference point. Probably one of the most common lake many people visit is called Pactola Lake. It’s gorgeous, fun, and perfect to take the family to.
This last summer of 2021, I visited this rad lake called Bear’s Thief Lake. It has some beautiful water, deep-water soloing action, and plenty of space to paddle-board! Bring the kids and the dogs and even the chuffer climbers you climb with and cool off!
One last lake to check out is Iron Creek Lake. It’s not far from Spearfish and is for sure a nice site to see! It’s a quaint little lake that would be a nice getaway for the afternoon. It’s about 20 minutes from the town of Spearfish and is easily accessible with any vehicle. Dog-friendly (can’t be on the swimming beach and must be leashed), kid-friendly. Can’t get better than that, folks! Also, the Iron Creek Lake Store has canoes and kayaks for rent. So let’s get going!
Coffee and Remote Work Vibes
Can’t think of a more productive thing to do on a rest day than plan for a work day! So if you’re looking for actual good coffee and fast wifi, there’s only one place to go to: Blackbird Espresso. Staff are friendly, there’s outdoor seating, and outlets to recharge. This is the preferred place to do work and sip on some amazing coffee. I recommend the iced caramel macchiato. But, their iced coffee is pretty decent, too! The only downside to Blackbird Espresso is that it does close kind of early (by 1 pm).
If you need more time to charge or work on wifi, walk down the street to Common Grounds. The coffee isn’t as good, but there’s a bigger food menu and outdoor seating.
The best scenic drive to do on your rest day in Spearfish is the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. It’s actually the same road that you are on to get to many of the climbing areas. Take a stroll down Highway 14A for 19 miles through the beautiful canyon.
The best time of the year to do this beautifully scenic drive is in the fall, where you can see all the autumn colors come to live in the canyon. Some highlights of the drive are: limestone cliff lines, Bridal Veil Falls, scenic overlooks and piney forested gorgeousness.
Directions to Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
From downtown Spearfish, head west on E. Colorado Blvd. You’ll turn right (south) onto 14A (Spearfish Canyon Highway). Cruise on down 14A to enjoy the scenic byway drive. You’ll eventually get to Savoy after passing some trailheads and Bridal Veil Falls. To continue on the scenic drive, keep left on 14A (heading southeast towards Roughlock Lodge). This drive is about 19 miles long, and should take approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours to complete.
From Lead, head west on US 85N for. 3/4 mile. Turn left onto US 14A/US 85S. Continue on 14A to enjoy the scenic drive up the canyon.
Recommendations on What to See
- Bridal Veil Falls (excellent view of a waterfall just minutes from the pull off)
- Devil’s Bathtub (fun hike through a little forested area over some creeks to get to a family-friendly watering hole)
- Latchstring Restaurant (family friendly)
- Cheyenne Crossing (especially if you’re riding on a motorcycle in spring/summer/fall… tons of others will be there, too!)
- Roughlock Falls (from Savoy, travel on Forest Road 222 for about 1 mile to find parking to hike to the falls)
Rest Day Hikes in Custer, South Dakota
The Black Hills are absolutely breathtaking and totally worth a hike or two. You’re going to love the reward of scenic views and rad pictures for your social media sites. So get your hiking boots on and stay hydrated as you hike your way around the Black Hills! Check out these five hikes I highly recommend:
[table id=15 /]
Good news is you’ve got options. It’s all based on where you’re camped, how long you want to drive, and the quality of produce you’re after.
Don’t Wanna Drive Far Option – Go to Lead
Let’s say you’re camped around the climbing areas in the canyon (Hanna campground, Hanna campground meadow, Timons, Rod and Gun, etc.). Let’s also say you don’t want to do a 45+ drive into the town of Spearfish. You’ll want to drive to Lead (trounced like, “lead the way,”). In Lead, you’ll find yourself at a grocery store that has decent produce and your basic groceries. There’s also a gas station nearby, ACE hardware, and an ice cream/coffee shop. Literally all in the same building/ parking lot. Super convenient. The ice cream/coffee shop is called Java Joint. The wifi is reliable and there’s outdoor seating. But I’d rather get ice cream here than coffee.
Rest Day, Don’t Care – Go to Spearfish
The town of Spearfish has some grocery stores to choose from. Leuders, Safeway, Walmart.
The first nearest Main St. is a small grocery store, and it’ll have all the basic needs. The produce hasn’t been all that great, though. The grocery store in Spearfish is called Leuders Food Center.
There’s also a Walmart about 10 minutes from the Spearfish Brewery and Blackbird Espresso in Spearfish, so that’s probably your best bet if you want more options and better produce.
I personally prefer to go to Safeway, very close to Main St. Spearfish stuff. I am kinda picky when it comes to fresh produce, and I haven’t been disappointed with the selection here. Click here to get the coordinates for Safeway. The Safeway is across the street from a Walgreens and a Jimmy John’s (in case you’re craving a sub).
Visit the Dinosaur Museum in Hill City, South Dakota
For anyone who is even remotely interested in dinosaurs, you’re gonna love this place! Visit the Dinosaur Museum at the Black Hills Institute on your next rest day. It’s a short drive to Hill City, and you won’t regret it. You’ll find some seriously rich history here, including Sue the T-Rex! The staff who run the museum are very hospitable and will definitely teach you at least one thing about dinosaurs during your visit.
There is a little gift shop that appeals to tourists and fossil-enthusiasts alike. The museum has a little bit of everything: fossils, geodes, replicas of dinosaurs, models of how we evolved as humans, etc. If you choose to visit, the pass costs $5 for the entire year! What a deal. If you can, definitely try to go with someone knowledgeable in the area of archeology, as it will make your experience there feel even richer and pleasant!
This great rest day activity will take you back through time. It’s just pretty cool! We spent about one hour here and could have easily spent more time inside – but it closed at 6 PM. Anyway, we headed over to grab pizza right across the street. So good! Highly recommend a museum visit followed by some rad pizza at Mangiamo Wood Fired Pizza. The dinosaurs and pies are calling your name!
Sue the T-Rex Scandal
Sue brings an interesting story with her! Sue was literally discovered upon a chance encounter by some archeologists working at the Black Hills Institute in 1990. They were given permission by the landowner, Maurice Williams, to dig up some bones. At the time of discovery, the Black Hills Institute had paid $5,000 to excavate on the land. After carefully unfolding her remains by eager individuals, it was determined that she was nearly 90% still in tact by bulk! But, I suppose that didn’t sit well with the FBI.
Just shortly after the Black Hills Institute did all the grunt work, the FBI seized poor old Sue the T-Rex and stored her elsewhere until all the legal mumbo-jumbo was settled. It’s said that Sue briefly rested in the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – which in the grand scheme of things was really no time at all for her given that she’s like 67 million years old! After all the civil suits were settled, she ended up traveling for a little while. Poor Sue got stuck in ongoing custody battles for like 10 years. Going from here to there, millions of people have had a chance to revel in her extraordinary self. Now, however, you can find her at the Black Hills Institute. Go visit her, she likes visitors!
Sue the T-Rex Specs
Sue is 12.8 meters (42 ft) long, making her one of the largest known T-Rex skeletons to date. Impressive! I mean, her skull alone weighs 600 pounds! Sue’s height comes in at 13 ft tall.
She was one of the oldest T-Rex dinosaurs to live as long as she did – just about 28 years! Trixie, another T-Rex discovered in 2013, claimed the record of being the oldest T-Rex ever to have lived. Trixie and Sue might have been gal pals back then, you never know! But probably not.
Sorry for the entire bio on Sue the T-Rex, but she’s just that amazing and deserved a little bit of love to share how cool she is. Anyhow, whatever you do on your rest day in Spearfish, I bet it’s gonna be awesome.
Rest Days in Spearfish Keep You Busy
Check out lakes, coffee shops, grocery stores, Hill City, hikes, and drives. There’s so much around to keep you occupied.
Get in touch with me to let me know which activities you most liked doing on your rest day! I’m on Instagram @teachonclimbon . Can’t wait to hear from you. Happy climbing everyone!
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bhigr.com/museum/
Sue (dinosaur). (2021, July 20). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_(dinosaur)
Whitney, B. (2020, January 10). Sue. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sue