Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer stage is all the rage

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, local theater enthusiast

What is the summer stage series?

BHSU theater performs "One Man, Two Guv'nors".
Mitchell Foth (right) will be featured in this year's
summer stage series
For the ninth year running, Black Hills State University students and volunteers will be delivering quality theater productions over the summer months.  

Beginning in June they will produce three plays this summer--including a musical!

And this year's summer stage series is special; it will be performed in the new Woodburn Hall black box theater at BHSU.

These productions are family friendly, and a little comedy is a perfect end to a long day in the sun.  

Rates are as follows: 
$15  general
$13  55+
$10  students
$7   17 and under

Click here for more information and to order tickets online

See you at the show!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Top 3 lesser known vantage points

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, hiker

While everyone knows Crow Peak and Lookout Mountain offer spectacular views of Spearfish, there are a few smaller ventures that offer a different view--and are a little less crowded.

1. Cement Ridge
This old fire lookout provides a different point of view; though it is technically in Wyoming, it is accessible only through Tinton Road.  And from here, you can see everything the light touches.  You can access the lookout year round; winter by snowmobile or 4 wheel drive, and summer by a vehicle that can handle a rough road.  Crow Peak shrinks from the skyline and actually looks small.  In the summer, visitors can enter the stone structure--one of the few still used to spot fires.  

2.  Days of '76 Trail
Located in Spearfish Canyon, near Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Canyon Lodge, this short hike provides a bird's eye view of the canyon.  It is a short but steep trail and is a popular snowshoeing destination.  

3.  The Stoop
The Stoop is a magical little ravine off a trail that starts at D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery.  It is a short hike, with a view the whole time.  Once you get to the top of the trail, take a right at the mort pit and hop the broken fence.  Keep walking uphill, along the edge.  As you move uphill, you can see the entire park and eventually you get a great view of Spearfish.  It is high enough to get a panoramic view, but low enough that buildings and people are still distinguishable.  You can slide down into the ravine, where you might catch a local dangling their feet off the stoop and contemplating the world.

For more great views of the Spearfish are, click here

Be on the look out for our 2016 activity guide as well!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Great 8 of Spearfish

People have flocked to Spearfish for hundreds of years, adding a rich cultural context to the phenomenal landscape.

Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most iconic symbols of Spearfish.  It
is located nearly 8 miles down Spearfish Canyon on Highway 14A.
Each traveler comes for something different.  Some long to get lost on a winding trail, between whispering pines and a rushing creek, or to reach a summit at sunrise.

Others yearn to hear stories of the Old West; of Native American legends, settler’s tales, and hopeful gold miners.  To see rusty relics and read crumbling old letters.

Taking into consideration all Spearfish has to offer, we’ve put together a list of Spearfish’s top attractions -- the great eight.

Unique perspective, dreamy figures, and a 4D structure.

The world renowned termespheres are painted by Spearfish’s own Dick Termes.  He uses six-point perspective to paint an entire world (left, right, up, down) on a sphere.  

Spearfish's own Dick Termes paints these exquisite spheres. Prints
are available at the gallery
The sphere is then suspended and attached to a small, quiet motor.  Once these elements of space and time are added, the 4th dimension is in place.  

Wonders of art, these immersive pieces have been sold from San Francisco to Japan.  

However, the only Termesphere Gallery is right here in Spearfish.  It is free to visit 9-5 seven days a week all summer long.  During winters you can visit Saturday and Sunday 10-5, and weekdays by chance or appointment.  

The Termesphere Gallery is on beautiful Christiansen
Drive, near Exit 14
The gallery itself pays tribute to these well-known works through its spherical structure.
Aside from the gallery, the spheres appear in various businesses around town--including the Spearfish Visitor's Center by the clock tower downtown.  

Vital to the local art scene, the Termesphere Gallery and the work of Dick Termes are truly local works of originality.

The High Plains Western Heritage Center encompasses the history of five Western States (South and North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska) and tells the stories of pioneering, cattle and sheep ranching, rodeo, Native Americans, transportation (railroad, covered wagon) and mining.  

This saddle is one of many handmade artifacts that depict the history of
the land we hold so dear and the people who came before us.
It even hosts a herd of longhorn steer, which are pastured on 40 acres with a panoramic view of Spearfish.  Many genuine old dusty Western artifacts, sculptures, and Native art are also featured.

The Western Heritage Center provides locals and visitors alike a means to learn the context the 5 state area was created from.  Ideal for history buffs and children alike, the Heritage Center is an interesting collection and phenomenal display of pioneer life.

The Western Heritage Center is stacked with remnants from the
Wild Wild West years of five states; South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana,
Nebraska, and North Dakota.
Take advantage of this opportunity by visiting the High Plains Western Heritage Center between 9-5 daily.  They are located on Heritage Drive off Exit 14 and are modestly priced ($10 for adults.  Ask for a guided tour to get the full experience.  

Longhorn steer graze peacefully in front of Crow Peak all year.  The cattle
have 40 acres to roam on.
A plethora of ponds, seasonal waterfalls, rock walls, and more make the DC Booth Fish Hatchery an all time favorite.

The DC Booth National Hatchery museum is open from 9am-5pm
seven days a week from May to September.  Guided tours are also 
offered during this time
When it opened back in 1901 though, the hatchery was strictly business.  The first ten years, trout eggs were hauled by covered wagon from Yellowstone to Spearfish.  Later on they were transported by a wooden river boat (The Yellowstone Boat) and then railcar--both of which can still be viewed at the hatchery.

Plenty of relics--including this railcar and a riverboat--decorate the 
lush campus.  The railcar can be toured during the summer
Though the ponds, archives, and more are now open to visitors, the 117 year-old DC Booth Historical National Fish Hatchery still provides 20,000-30,000 trout to local streams and lakes.  Highlights of the hatchery include:
  • There are two large and magnificent bronze sculptures on site--one of a fisherman and his daughter dubbed “Generations” and the other “Spring Stocking Pond,” both by James Michael Maher
  • A popular wedding venue, Ruby’s Garden is a gem.  It’s cozy, lined with foliage, and hidden away in the depths of the hatchery
  • The trail network identifies the boundaries of the hatchery.  Two winding trails provide views of town, the creek, and the city park
  • Foliage abounds, ducks (sometimes even eagles!) meander around, and the babbling brook can be heard can be heard anywhere on the 10-acre campus
  • An underground viewing area that allows visitors to see into the largest pond--which also contains the largest trout on site
The largest pond can be viewed both from the top and
below ground
  • The National Historical Archives, which provide historical information so important it cannot be moved.  The archives feature documents and relics from the first days of the nation's hatcheries.  
DC Booth Fish Hatchery is a go-to spot for taking a tranquil walk, letting your dog stretch its legs, or feeding the fish.

The hatchery is open year round dawn until dusk, but tours are only done in the summer.  

Since its establishment in 2007, Crow Peak Brewery has become a community staple.  Known primarily for their Pile o’ Dirt Porter and Canyon Cream Ale, the brewery expanded quickly and needed a new building by 2009.

Crow Peak Brewery is a local favorite for an evening beer
This new brewery and tap room have a homey, woodsy feel.  You can usually catch a pooch snoozing on the patio or balcony--which provide great views of the sunset over Crow Peak and the live music hosted outdoors during the warmer months.  

In the colder months the fire place inside is on, and a comfy couch awaits in front of it.

During Happy Hour and on weekends, the brewery is at its busiest.  

Guests dressed up for speakeasy night at Crow Peak Brewery,
which featured folk music by the Darning Hearts
The after-work crowd, families with children, BHSU students, and travelers frequent the brewery, which rotates through exotic treats such as Wicca Chili Ale and their Black Coffee IPA.  

Crow Peak Brewery’s superbly unique flavor, eclectic spirit, and welcoming atmosphere are perfectly representative of Spearfish itself.

Crow Peak, Lookout Mountain, and Spearfish Mountain.  They dominate the skyline, interrupt the sunset, and fit snugly around Spearfish.  

When the Spearfish area was first settled in 1876, the pioneers noted this rim of stone and pine; they called it a crown and dubbed Spearfish “Queen City.”

Spearfish Mountain has no trail and is wildly untouched by man, but the other two are open for exploration.

Lookout Mountain is a relatively short hike, and the mountain overlooks Spearfish and Wyoming.  It can be accessed two ways; through Sandstone Hills housing development, and via Nevada Street.  Simply park at the end of the road and walk through the tunnel and across the field. 

Crowning jewel Lookout Mountain watches over Spearfish.  Hikers
make their way to the top year round
Crow Peak is one of the most popular hikes in the hills, though much more rigorous.  The trail is about 7 miles, and it winds steeply up the rock.  From the 1560 foot summit, you can see Wyoming and Spearfish from the eagle’s view.  

Avid outdoorsmen also ride through on horseback, bike the trail in the summer or winter, as well as snowshoe or snowboard the mountain while it is less crowded. 

Crow Peak is an icon of Spearfish and can be seen miles around--
from the I-90 Deadwood Exit, to Cement Ridge Fire Lookout in Wyoming.
The Crow Peak trail is accessible through FSR 214, 7 miles out of Spearfish.

Lookout, Crow Peak, and Spearfish Mountain have been attractions and icons of Spearfish since the pioneers arrived.  The crown jewels will forever be a symbol of the Northern Hills.

The pristine water of Spearfish Creek winds through the canyon and flows South to North so quickly, it freezes only on the bottom.  Along the way, it stretches through the City Campground and Park, DC Booth Fish Hatchery, Brady Park, and the Meier property by Evans Park.  

Spearfish Creek is one of our best assets; it's
clean, plentiful, and flows year round  
The brown, rainbow, and brook trout in the creek submit to fly fishermen, who stand hopeful in their waders. Popular fishing spots include:
  • the section of the creek that runs through the North side of Fruitdale Field
  • a wooded area of the stream between the jogging path and the hydroelectric plant in the city campground
However, since Spearfish Creek is teeming with trout, any spot down the creek is sure to satisfy.

Spearfish Creek weaves through the canyon and into town.  There is
always a tranquil spot to be found along the creek
Sun worshippers can be found tanning by the creek or tubing it all summer long, and there are many secret swimming holes that are deep enough to jump in; some are even equipped with rope swings.

Spearfish Creek powers the community through supporting a hydroelectric plant that is over 100 years old.  The plant was purchased from Homestake Mining Company back in 2004.

Downtown Spearfish packs a punch with dining, shopping, and more.  The shops and galleries escape the confines of Main Street, extending the downtown area to side streets Hudson, Illinois, and Grant.  

Many of the downtown buildings are nearly as old as Spearfish itself; some (like the Lown Building) were built out of local Sandstone.  Old Spearfish City Hall is also on the registry; it is now home Leone’s Creamery, West River Studios, and more.  

The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center--still in use today--first opened its doors over 100 years ago, in 1906.  They now host concerts, plays, art shows, and more.  

The ornate Matthews Opera House brings a bit of old-world magic
to the downtown scene
Here’s what makes downtown Spearfish an attraction today:
The Junk Drawer and Naked Olive is packed
with locally made artwork, vintage furniture,
oddities, and infused olive oils
  • Spearfish grown Leone's Creamery features handmade ice cream and local ingredients.  Their waffle cones and ice cream cookie sandwiches are made in house too.  Yum!
A crowd enjoys the Black Hills State University senior art show at the
Matthews Opera House and Arts Center.  Following the art show, bluegrass
group Mipso performed upstairs in the Opera House
  • Seasonal festivals like Harvest Fest and the Holidazzle Light Parade, which feature food, fun, and great downtown shopping deals
  • Riding clubs, poker runs, and show and shines take over downtown! Spearfish has hosted the National Impala Association Convention, the Hamsters Motorcycle Club, and the Corvette Classic.
National Impala Association Convention owners show
of their prized wheels in 2015.  The areas excellent 
scenic routes make it a hot spot for those who love 
to burn rubber
  • Downtown Friday Nights, the weekly summer extravaganza takes over Main Street!  Corn dog and stone baked pizza vendors line the curb, and many of the shops stay open for late night shoppers. Even the bars set up outside since open container is permitted from 5-10.  Of course the main event is the band, center stage.  A different regional band is featured each week, and you’re welcome to bring a chair and enjoy the show--or to bring the kids and dog down with you
Stop by Visit Spearfish seven days a week from May to September by the clock tower for a historic downtown map, Spearfish Activity Guide, and more!

A narrow highway winds between stone giants, racing next to the creek, nestled in between Ponderosas and Aspens.  

Roughlock Falls is one of four waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon; the
others being Spearfish Falls, the Annie Creek falls, and Bridal Veil Falls
When it’s cold, the fog presses down and the woods become mysterious.  Not a deer rustles, not a bird flies.  The pines contrast phenomenally against the shimmering snow.  

If it is still Fall, the crimson leaves of birch and oak are burning up by the millions and the crisp air smells fresh and feels good to breathe.

When it’s warm, the canyon is a comfortable degree or two cooler, and the golden sun bathes the crevices of each and every limestone tower.  Purple and white wild flowers dot the forest floor.  The flooded creek sings lazily, and town seems forever away.

Carved millions of years ago by a receding sea eroding soft stone, Spearfish Canyon has long been revered by man.  

A bike path connects Spearfish Canyon to the City campground and park
Since Spearfish was settled the canyon has offered world-class hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, rock climbing and of course photo ops.  

One of the most popular Spearfish Canyon hikes is Devil’s Bathtub.  The trail begins at Cleopatra Place and takes the hiker up into the walls of the canyon.  It crosses the creek several times, and eventually leads to a magnificent hidden swimming hole.

When it comes to cross-country skiing, the Eagle Cliff trails are a treat.  This set of 21 trails that sprawls through the canyon can be accessed through taking Highway 14A to Cheyenne Crossing, then going southwest on Highway 85.  The first trail head is 7.4 miles in.

Spearfish Canyon provides many opportunities for
winter sports, including the 28 Below Savoy Winter
Bike Challenge
With over 350 miles in trails, the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System is one of the largest in the nation.  The #4 trailhead is in Spearfish Canyon--near Spearfish Canyon Lodge, which will rent you all the snowmobiling equipment you could possibly need.

You can also camp at several locations in Spearfish Canyon, one of the most coveted being Timon Campground.  Timon owes its popularity to its location near Roughlock and Spearfish Falls, the Days of ’76 Trail, and Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

So--which will you do first?  Gain a new perspective at the Termesphere Gallery?  Go for a swim in the creek?  Or sit back with a brew at Crow Peak Brewery?

Between the diverse culture and natural wonder, it can be hard to pick a favorite.

Which is yours?  Let us know!


Photos courtesy of Visit Spearfish and Victoria Kinkler