Devil's Bathtub in the Black Hills of South Dakota
We've been spending long weekends in the Black Hills of South Dakota for many years now. It is an easy road trip from our home and there are always things to do no matter the season. Although the majority of our trips happen to land in winter. I'm secretly a huge fan of winter! Ok... it's not really a secret...
I absolutely love visiting the hills during winter. The summer crowds have come and gone. The canyons and lakes are quieter and more serene. So many of the popular summer locations you can have practically to yourself and that's probably why I love it so much. The snow remains untouched, their is a quietness in the air and the lodging is less expensive!
A few weeks ago, Brian and I decided last minute to head west to the Black Hills and booked a few nights at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge in Spearfish Canyon. The lodge is such a cozy place to stay with a huge fireplace in the main lobby - one of our favorite places to spend a little downtime during the trip. Not to mention it is so close to many of our favorite hikes and fly-fishing spots, that we really had no reason to leave the canyon!
The first thing I wanted to do on this trip was hike to Devil's Bathtub. After all the years I've been spending time out in the hills, I had never done this hike! The trailhead is located slightly off the canyon highway on Cleopatra Place and is not signed, making it somewhat difficult to find. There is minimal parking, which is no big deal in the winter, as we were the only ones there, but I imagine that in the summer this could be a potential problem. Although on the plus side, it means the trail shouldn't be overly populated either.
Once we found the trailhead, we packed up our backpack and headed down the path. There was at least a foot of snow on the ground, if not more, but the path had already been travelled making it easy for us to follow, which I appreciated since it was our first time and I had no idea where we should be going to get to Devil's Bathtub.
The trail is a combination of tall trees and rock formations. It is approximately 1.1 miles long, out and back. There isn't much of an incline, making it easy for families of all ages. As you get closer to Devil's Bathtub, it does get a bit rockier, and in the winter, it can be quite slick. But overall, it was an easy and effortless hike.
As we hiked along, I mentioned before this was our first time, so we were trusting that the worn path was the correct path and followed it to the end. I am not sure what we were walking on, at times I think it may have been the creek. We couldn't see the water due to all the snow and ice, but I could hear the water running below the surface. It was an interesting experience!
When we finally reached the top, we actually weren't sure if we had made it to Devil's Bathtub. It was covered in snow, and the path just ended with no where else we could go due to the rock formations. After showing photos to a friend, they confirmed we did indeed make it to our destination, but it definitely is considerably different covered in snow!
Prior to the trip I had researched this hike and the photos were all beautiful, green, and obviously taken during the summer months when the water is running freely. It looked so gorgeous! I wasn't sure what to expect in the winter, but I thought maybe I'd see a frozen waterfall. The actual Devils Bathtub portion of the hike was a little bit disappointing but the entire hike up to the location and back down was absolutely breathtaking covered in snow. I would definitely recommend this hike during all seasons!
During our hike we encountered a couple of things we were a bit unsure of. We created a YouTube video documenting our experience. You can check it out by clicking the photo below! Have you ever hiked to Devils Bathtub in the Black Hills?