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Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake

Pactola Dam, South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake

Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake were locations I secretly waited for. Spearfish Canyon held waterfalls and I positively adore waterfalls!  Plus, My new Vu Filter system was screaming for attention. I was itching to explore some of the options of new filters I had brought along.

As we approached, my husband pointed to the clouds of smoke billowing off the mountain top.  I believe that is our destination. It proved true.


Spearfish Canyon Wildfires

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Certain parts of the park were closed because they were battling wildfires. Others, under a heavy haze.  It didn’t make the scenery any less appealing to your eyes.  The pictures I had planned, they were just not going to happen. At least not today.

Bridal Veil Falls Spearfish Canyon South Dakota


Bridal Veil Falls is the easiest of the three waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon to locate. It can be seen from US Hwy 14A. The 60 ft waterfall is stunning.  I am thankful for the Topaz Dehazing tool.  By using it, I was at least walk away with some usable pictures.  The smoky haze was picked up on all my pics.

Driving Through Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota



We hiked back to another waterfall.  The walk back was shaded by tall trees and along the route, people were ditching their shoes and wading through the ice cold streams.

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall

Our park trip was short lived.  They started to direct traffic out of certain sections as the fire spread. The haze in the sky was becoming more noticeable. In lowland areas the smug started setting in fairly heavy. Traveling between locations became more difficult.  One lane traffic in many parts of the park had traffic at a standstill.


Smog was thick in Spearfish Canyon



We decided to just head out of the park.  If we had additional days in South Dakota, we would have stayed in the park longer and battled the traffic.  We all agreed.  There was more we wanted to see and experience in South Dakota.  Waiting in traffic is what we do back in Green Bay. Not on vacation in South Dakota.

Pactola Lake

Pactola Lake was a beautiful place to get out and stretch.  It seemed like you could see for miles.


Overlooking Pactola Lake, South Dakota


The lake is what I like to call a sport lake. People boating, fishing, kayaking and having fun.


Pactola Lake South Dakota
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The lake has a aqua hue to it and appears to be extremely clean and clear from the bluffs looking down.


Pactola Lake South Dakota
The tall pines surrounding the lake gave us shade from the 90 plus degree weather and allowed us time to do a little hiking along the top of the lake.


There were eagles flying above the lake and a few additional birds of prey that I wasn’t able to get a close up of to identify.

Back to Hill City. We have to stop off at the store for meat to grill back our our rental house. Tomorrow, we plan on heading back to revisit a few places.

Thanks for tagging along with us on our travels to Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake.




See additional days from our trip:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8 
Day 9
Day 10


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