I consider myself lucky to live in the Black Hills – a place where we literally have a giant outdoor playground just waiting to be explored. This past weekend brought a new adventure for me.
I’d heard a lot about a place called Devil’s Bathtub, in Spearfish Canyon, but had never made it out to explore it for myself. On Sunday we met some friends in Spearfish and headed out into the canyon. We had gotten some directions on how to find “the tub” from others who had been there before.
The directions sounded something like this, “pull off at Cleopatra Place, park your car before you cross the bridge, then start walking toward the creek and up – you’ll find it.”
Although a bit vague, those directions proved to be spot on. The hike up to Devil’s Bathtub only took about 45 minutes and was absolutely beautiful! The trail is well worn and easy to follow, but be prepared to cross the creek a few times and possibly get wet feet.
The area is stunning – a combination of birch and aspen trees, mixed with ponderosa pine and a handful of spruce – all surrounded by steep cliffs and other unusual products of erosion.
As the stream flows down the mountain, it has formed what look like a series of smooth water slides. Apparently, years ago, the water had formed a large pool deep enough to dive into. Today, a large boulder has appeared in the stream, effectively stopping visitors from sliding down. Sediment has also filled in the largest pool, making it only 5 or 6 feet deep.
We hung out in the area for quite a while, watching the trout and wading in the ice-cold water. I could have stayed there all day, just taking in the surroundings.
The hike up to Devil’s Bathtub was definitely worth it. It’s one of those areas in the Black Hills that is not necessarily listed in any of the tourist guides, but is not necessarily a “locals secret” either.
If you go, be sure to pack out anything that you take in and know that the first few yards of the trail are on private land, so tread lightly and enjoy.