"Unique and unparalleled elsewhere in our country."
Those were the words used by America's greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, when he visited Spearfish Canyon in 1935.
The 22-mile journey along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 14A) begins at Exit 14 off I-90 in Spearfish, South Dakota, and ends at Cheyenne Crossing outside of Lead.
"Thousand-foot-high limestone palisades in shades of brown, pink and gray tower to the right and left of Highway 14A as it twists through the 19-mile gorge" (blackhillsbadlands.com).
A number of pull-offs provide opportunities to photograph sights along the way. Bridal Veil Falls provided a challenge. The sun was just above the falls, and the bank adjacent to the highway allowed little room to maneuver.
A little further down the road, there was plenty of room to watch the skills of this fly fisherman and
listen to the sounds of the rushing waters of Spearfish Creek.
The speed limit along winding 14A is 35 mph, but it seemed rare to find anyone driving that fast.
Perhaps the relatively slow pace of highway traffic has been behind Bicycling Magazine's naming Spearfish Canyon one of the top 50 scenic bike paths in the country. (But then again, the wide shoulders may have played a more prominent role is this decision.)
The views ranged from long-range vistas down the road before us
to images that rose hundreds of yards from the highway's shoulder.
Near Savoy, there is a gravel road leading to Roughlock Falls, but we opted for the mile-long trail to the falls.
This leisurely walk through birch and pine trees along Spearfish Creek provided a more interesting journey to the beautiful falls.
A boardwalk provided this view of the falls. In the background is the upper level of the falls.
The lower level divides. This view is of the right side of this division, and
the left side is shown here.
Another observation of Wright's on Spearfish Canyon and the highway that transverses it was "...a stately exposition of what decorated walls on enormous scale can do and be .... How is it that I've heard so little of this miracle?"