The Black Hills Travel Blog

Fall Colors update for Spearfish Canyon

By • Sep 15th, 2010 • Category: Outdoor Adventure

Spearfish Canyon fall colors update by Jerry Boyer, author Canyon Echoes 623
Click the image above for a full-sized version.

Jerry Boyer, longtime Spearfish-area resident, photographer and author, has been observing and recording the colorful fall transition in Spearfish Canyon for more than 30 years. Boyer’s understanding of the canyon’s vegetation has enabled him to put together a prediction-system-of-sorts for when the canyon colors might peak.

I just received my first update of the fall season from Boyer and it’s full of exciting stuff! The short version is that Spearfish Canyon is currently estimated to be at 40% color saturation and will likely peak sometime in the last week of September.

Boyer’s graph, above, shows the color change timelines of Spearfish Canyon for the past 16 years. This year’s trend is the solid, bright yellow line.

For the next few weeks, as I continue to get his updates, I’ll continue to share them with you here.

If you live in, or plan to visit, the Black Hills region in the next couple of weeks this might help you decide when to go for a scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon. If you’re not in the area this season, at least you can view the changes vicariously through the travel blog and Boyer’s updates. Enjoy!

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Spearfish Canyon fall colors update as of September 13, 2010.
Photos and information by Jerry Boyer, author, Canyon Echos
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The nearly 40% color saturation reported today marks the final stage of the lime phase, with its stunning contrast to the multiple colors on the canyon floor and the dark emerald greens of the canyon pine forest.  Light yellows in the aspen and birch at the higher elevations, while brighter yellows in the oak and cottonwoods near lower Spearfish are now beginning to emerge. Heading towards the spectacular colorful burst in a week or so, and a peak that MAY come early between September 25th and 27th.

Please drive carefully to protect hikers, bikers, “slow-moving vehicles”, and the little critters that are scurrying back and forth across the scenic roadway filling their empty nests for the long winter ahead.

Spearfish Canyon fall colors photo current as of September 13, 2010. Courtesy of Jerry Boyer

Spearfish Canyon fall colors photo current as of September 13, 2010. Courtesy of Jerry Boyer.

About the Author

is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back. He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.
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