Seniors Discover Spearfish

topindexSpearfish, senior travelers learn, is a city in Lawrence County and has a population of 10,500. Prior to the Black Hills Gold Rush of 1876, the area was used by Native Americans, primarily bands of Sioux. Others also ranged through the area who would spear fish in the creek, hence the name of the creek and subsequently the town.


So let’s trek on into town and check out some of the main attractions. Known as the Queen City, Spearfish is surrounded by three prominent mountain peaks – Lookout Mountain, Spearfish Mountain, and Crow Peak which form an awesome “crown” encircling the City.

The City was surveyed and staked out in 1876 and officially incorporated  in 1888. Spearfish is ideally situated in the scenic valley of Spearfish Creek and at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon.

Seniors Discover Town Tied to Mining and Tourism


In the 20th century, the history of Spearfish was tied very closely to mining and tourism. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who visited Spearfish Canyon in 1935, later called the area “unique and unparalleled elsewhere in our country,” and wondered, “How is it that I’ve heard so little of this miracle and we, toward the Atlantic, have heard so much of the Grand Canyon when this is even more miraculous?”

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is one of South Dakota’s best scenic drives.  Any time of year, this stunning 19-mile cruise will take senior travelers through towering limestone walls and a dense deciduous forest. The Byway follows Spearfish Creek past historic Homestake Gold Mine hydroelectric plants and multiple waterfalls.

The local Chamber of Commerce notes that Spearfish Canyon has a beauty unique to each season. Fall dazzles with great colors when the aspen and birch turn golden yellow and the oak and sumac flame shades of red. The Canyon is equally awe-inspiring in winter when heavy wet snow piles up on the tree branches and canyon ridges. Senior visitors take note: there are three waterfalls on the “must see list” for canyon goers.

Seniors Find A Fishing Paradise


Spearfish is also home to Black Hills State University with over 4,000 students. The Matthews Opera House opened back in 1906 and is the centerpiece of the Spearfish Arts Center and the home to an active community theater. For you historians, the Spearfish Historical Society is awaiting your visit with ongoing presentations featuring the past of the area.

Seniors, ever done any fly fishing? If so, bring your pole along as Spearfish Canyon is a fishing paradise. Its narrow, 1,000-foot walls are among the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills and home to cascading waterfalls and mountain streams full of awesome trout.

As for me, I would not want to miss the Western Heritage Center with displays of the Great Western Cattle Trail and a wide range of Western Artifacts. Enjoy your time in Spearfish. -jeb

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