BLACK HILLS, S.D. — Looking to get out and enjoy the autumn color before it’s too late? Check out some of our favorite places below!
Hell Canyon – Custer
Hell Canyon, just 15 miles west of Custer on Highway 16, is a 5.6 mile loop trail with incredible views from the canyon rim. If you’re looking for a gentler hike and some fall foliage, take the canyon floor instead. The gentle path winds between cliff faces and boasts impressive views. Bring waterproof shoes though – walking along the canyon floor requires crossing several small streams!
Iron Creek Trail #15 – Custer
Iron Creek Trail No. 15 is a five mile out-and-back trail located between Keystone and Custer off Iron Mountain Road. The trail is rated as easy but does contain roughly 11 water crossings. The trail wanders along the creek flanked by stands of pine, oak, aspen, and birch.
Cement Ridge – Beulah
For anyone who’d rather drive to see the fall colors, Cement Ridge in Beulah, Wyoming, is the perfect spot! A bit of a drive, the end result is worth it – the historic fire tower sits at 6,647ft. up and provides spectacular panoramic views of Wyoming and South Dakota. High vehicle clearance is recommended as the final approach to the tower is rutted in spots.
Old Baldy – Spearfish
13 miles south of Spearfish off of Forest Service Road 134 lies the Old Baldy Trailhead. This 5.7 mile loop winds through stands of aspen, birch, and pine before giving hikers the option of taking a .7 mile spur trail to the summit of Old Baldy Mountain. The fall colors are stunning along the trail, and from the summit, hikers can see Crow Peak, Ragged Top, Terry Peak, and Cement Ridge.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
An incredible drive flanked by Spearfish Creek and monumental limestone cliffs is the ever-popular Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. This 22-mile stretch of road gives visitors the opportunity to view fall colors from the comfort of their vehicle. Anyone looking to get a close-up can take one of the numerous trailheads dotted along the roadway – such as Devil’s Bathtub or 11th Hour Gulch.
Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower – Deadwood
For a quick but rewarding hike, try Mount Roosevelt Loop near Deadwood. This trail is just short of one mile and is steep and rocky in sections. The Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower was built in 1919 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Do you know why the leaves change? Click here for a fun lesson in leaf-peeping!