Discover Serenity at Roughlock Falls State Nature Area: A Natural Beauty in South Dakota

Embrace the Great Outdoors at Roughlock Falls

Hiking Trails for Every Explorer

Spearfish Canyon, nestled in the heart of the Black Hills, is a hiker’s paradise, offering a rich tapestry of trails that cater to all levels of experience. The well-maintained paths ensure a safe and enjoyable journey through the area’s natural splendor. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike, you’ll find the perfect trail here.

The Roughlock Falls Trail is a favorite among visitors, providing an easy 1-mile round trip that’s accessible to most. It’s an ideal choice for families and those looking to immerse themselves in nature without a strenuous climb. For the more adventurous, the ’76 Trail presents a challenging 1.5-mile trek with a steep 600-foot elevation gain, rewarding hikers with breathtaking panoramic views.

Here’s a snapshot of the trails you can explore:

  • Roughlock Falls Trail: An easy walk with minimal elevation, perfect for a relaxed hike.
  • ’76 Trail: For those seeking a challenge, this trail offers a steep ascent to stunning vistas.
  • Little Spearfish Trail: A moderate 6-mile loop that weaves through meadows and forests, showcasing the diverse ecology of the region.

As you plan your visit, keep in mind that South Dakota offers diverse attractions, including these hiking trails, state parks, and unique regions like Western, Central, and Eastern. Stay updated on the latest happenings by joining our newsletter.

Capturing the Cascades: Photography Tips

Roughlock Falls, nestled in the serene landscape of South Dakota, is a photographer’s paradise. The falls offer a dynamic backdrop for both amateur and professional photographers alike. To capture the essence of Roughlock Falls, it’s essential to consider the time of day and lighting conditions. Early morning or late afternoon provides the soft, golden light that can add a magical touch to your photos.

When planning your photography excursion, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Use a tripod to stabilize your camera for sharp, clear images.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds to create a variety of effects with the moving water.
  • Consider using a polarizing filter to reduce glare and enhance the natural colors.

Remember, the key to great waterfall photography is patience and experimentation. Take your time to explore different angles and compositions to find the perfect shot that conveys the beauty of South Dakota’s outdoor attractions.

Picnicking by the Waterfall: Local Favorites

After a refreshing hike or a photo session capturing the beauty of Roughlock Falls, there’s nothing quite like unwinding with a picnic by the water’s edge. The sound of the cascading falls provides a serene backdrop as you enjoy some of the local culinary delights. Pack a basket with South Dakota specialties, such as buffalo burgers, wild game sausages, and some locally harvested chokecherry jam for a true taste of the region.

Here are a few tips to ensure your picnic is perfect:

  • Choose a spot early to get the best view of the falls.
  • Bring a waterproof blanket to stay dry on the dewy grass.
  • Remember to pack out what you pack in to keep the area pristine for others.

While you’re savoring your meal, take a moment to appreciate the natural splendor that surrounds you. Spearfish Canyon is not just a hiker’s paradise; it’s a place where all visitors, from avid adventurers to those seeking tranquility, can find joy. The canyon’s trail system is well-maintained and clearly marked, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. And if you’re looking to explore beyond the falls, the Black Hills offer a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities, from rock climbing to snowmobiling, ensuring that your visit to South Dakota is filled with memorable moments.

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Great Faces. Great Places.

South Dakota is an incredibly unique state in that each region offers a completely different experience then the others. Check out each of the regions to see what each has to offer!


Western South Dakota

Featuring the Black Hills, Badlands, the Sturgis Rally. This region tends to be the most popular.


This region of South Dakota offers some of the best hunting and fishing in the entire central US. 

Eastern Region

The eastern region is home to the largest city in the state and provides visitors with a true "prairie" experience.