Top 10 Waterfalls in South Dakota

Published on September 22nd, 2021

South Dakota doesn’t have many waterfalls, which makes the ones you can find even better. From the beautiful Spearfish Canyon full of stunning falls to impressive rushing water in the middle of the city, the waterfalls in South Dakota are worth a visit.

Waterfalls in South Dakota

1. Sioux Falls

2. Bridal Veil Falls

3. Roughlock Falls

4. Spearfish Falls

5. Devil’s Bathtub

6. Grizzly Bear Falls

7. Devils Gulch

8. Cascade Falls

9. Hot Springs Waterfall

10. Hippie Hole

Visiting Waterfalls in South Dakota

We’ve pulled together 10 popular waterfalls to visit in South Dakota on your next RV trip.

1. Sioux Falls

You won’t have to hike far to visit the first waterfall on our list, it’s right in the middle of the city! The 128 acre Falls Park is one of the highlights of Sioux Falls, and offers plenty of opportunity to view the cascading waterfalls of the Big Sioux River. Stop at any of the many viewing platforms, or see the falls from above on the five story observation tower!

Things to do near Sioux Falls: If you’re looking to stretch your legs, there’s 34 miles of trails that start from Falls Park and go through the city and along the river. We’ve got a local’s guide with all the best things to see, eat, and do in Sioux Falls. And we have you covered with local RV rentals.

2. Bridal Veil Falls

The Black Hills is home to several amazing waterfalls, including Bridal Veil Falls. Located in Spearfish Canyon, Bridal Veil Falls cascades 60 feet down a rock face and is easy to access. There’s a parking area and an observation deck next to the falls for easy viewing. The best time to see this waterfall is in spring when the water flow is higher from the melting snow.

Things to do near Bridal Veil Falls: This waterfall is located about 15 minutes from Spearfish, South Dakota. You can take the scenic drive through Canyon to view more waterfalls on our list – Spearfish, Roughlock, and Devil’s Bathtub. Then explore more of Black Hills National Forest and the incredible hiking and biking opportunities.

3. Roughlock Falls

The second waterfall in Spearfish Canyon is Roughlock Falls. This waterfall flows down multiple tiers and is the perfect place to stop and enjoy the rushing water. There’s parking, restrooms, picnic areas, and walking trails by the falls, making it a great place to stop for lunch. The trail is easy and accessible, and about 2 miles round trip. Besides taking in the falls, it’s also a great place to birdwatch, fish, and grab some gorgeous nature photos.

Things to do near Roughlock Falls: The parking area and trailhead starts at the Spearhead Canyon Lodge along FSR 222. And since you’re already in Spearhead Canyon, be sure not to miss the other three waterfalls, Spearfish Falls, Devil’s Bathtub and Bridal Veil Falls!

4. Spearfish Falls

Spearfish Falls is the third waterfall in Spearfish Canyon, located near the Savoy area. The trailhead starts at the Latchstring Restaurant, and there’s an observation deck if you want to see the falls from a distance. But if you want an up-close look, it only takes a bit of hiking to see these impressive 80-foot falls. The trail is less than a mile long but can be slippery so wear good shoes.

Things to do near Spearfish Falls: Explore the rest of Spearfish Canyon and the previous waterfalls on this list. Then head over to visit Deadwood, South Dakota to see a bit of history from the Wild West. And Rapid City is only 40 miles to the southeast.

5. Devils Bathtub

Another fantastic hike in Spearfish Canyon is the hike to Devil’s Bathtub. Located near Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon, the hike is just over a 1.5 miles round trip. There are several water crossings, so be ready to get your feet wet. At the end of the trail is Devil’s Bathtub, where the creek flows down into a bathtub shaped pool.

Things to do near Devil’s Bathtub: Bridal Falls is close by, along with the other waterfalls on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Be sure to check them out while you’re there!

6. Grizzly Bear Falls

Though Grizzly Bear Falls is a smaller waterfall, it’s close proximity to Mount Rushmore and the beautiful hike to get there makes the trip enjoyable. This waterfall is located on Grizzly Bear Creek, and the trailhead starts at Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground. The falls depend on the waterflow, so your best bet to see this small, hidden waterfall is in the spring when the water is higher.

Things to do near Grizzly Bear Falls: You’re right outside Mount Rushmore, so it’s the perfect side trip. Crazy Horse is also nearby, as well as Black Elk Peak. Take some time to explore this beautiful area of the Black Hills National Forest. Rapid City is only 23 miles away.

7. Devil’s Gulch

Local legend says that the outlaw Jesse James once jumped over Devil’s Gulch on his horse to escape a posse. While the story may or may not be true, Devil’s Gulch Park is a great spot to stop and explore the small, cascading waterfall along Split Rock Creek. There are several hiking trails and footbridges over the gorge to explore, including the Devil’s Falls Crossbridge where you can see the waterfall. Then take a look at the gorge for yourself and debate if a horse could jump it!

Things to do near Devil’s Gulch: This waterfall is in Garretson, and Palisades State Park is just to the south. You’re just 30 minutes outside of Sioux Falls, so be sure to stop in and see the waterfall in the city as well. We’ve got you covered with a guide to the city and local RV rentals!

8 Cascade Falls

Image from fs.fed.us

Our next stop isn’t just a waterfall, it’s a swimming hole near Hot Springs, South Dakota! The waterfalls themselves only have around a 10-15 feet drop, but Cascade Falls is a popular area for swimming. There’s a parking area with concrete pathways and stairs down to the falls and swimming area. There’s also a picnic area and restrooms nearby, and the falls are surrounded by beautiful plant life. If you decide to swim, keep in mind that although the waterfall is near the town of Hot Springs, the water isn’t heated and will be cold!

Things to do near Cascade Falls: Visit the nearby town of Hot Springs to explore Wind Cave National Park and the Mammoth Site museum. You’re also not far from Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, and Rapid City.

9. Hot Springs Waterfall

Just a few miles up the road from Cascade Falls is the town of Hot Springs. And located right in the middle of the town is Hot Springs Waterfall in Centennial Park. The Freedom Trail, a paved trail just over 1 mile long runs through the park and past the waterfall. A bridge crosses right in front of the falls where the water pours over the rocks and it’s a great spot for a selfie!

Things to do near Hot Springs Waterfall: Relax in the hot springs, check out the Mammoth Site museum, and head down to Cascade Falls to swim in the river. You’re also very close to Wind Cave National Park. We’ve got a guide to the park if you’re looking for the best things to see.

10. Hippie Hole

If you have a vehicle that can handle rough dirt roads, a stop at Hippie Hole won’t be an issue. The drive to the trailhead is rough, but once you’re there it’s only a 0.6-mile out and back trail to this waterfall and swimming hole. The hike is rated moderate, so you’ll be happy to jump into the water and swim by the falls when you arrive. There are rocks to sunbathe and jump off, and you can walk down to the base to soak in the water. Just remember the trail is steep on your way back up!

Things to do near Hippie Hole: This waterfall hike and swimming hole is located 10 miles east of Mount Rushmore. You’ll be near all sorts of great activities in the Black Hills National Forest like Crazy Horse, Black Elk Peak, and several other waterfalls on our list.

Planning an RV Trip to South Dakota

An RV trip is an excellent way to tour the great variety of waterfalls in South Dakota, and we’ve got all the resources you need to plan a perfect vacation.

Here are guides to some of the best state parks in South Dakota, as well as all the national parks in the country. And as always, we’re here to help when it comes to finding the best campgrounds and RV rentals. Now it’s time to start exploring!

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