Thursday, July 21, 2016

Celebrating National Ice Cream Month with Leone's Creamery and Ice Cream Parlour

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, ice cream aficionado

July is National Ice Cream Month, and here in Spearfish we have our own home grown creamery to celebrate with.  

Locally owned Leone's Creamery opened downtown near the end of 2014 in the historic City Hall Building.  

Leone's offers six flavors at a time, rotating through more than 100 flavors without warning, and seemingly at random.  

They always keep a vegan option available (made with coconut milk!) and use local ingredients to make their flavors--such as the chocolate chip Pile o' Dirt and Blackbird Espresso coffee ice cream.  They also dabble in some more adventurous flavors such as avocado and blueberry + goat cheese.

Freshly made waffle cones (gluten free) and homemade granola are a highlight of the creamery, but don't compare to the ice cream sandwiches made with soft cookies.  You can also get a float or a sundae--and don't forget a pint to take home!

In the winter, Leone's hours are limited to Friday-Sunday 12-9pm.

All summer though, Leone's is slinging cream Wednesday-Monday all day long.

Whats your favorite flavor?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cascading Gems of Spearfish Canyon: Visiting the Waterfalls

By Laura Heisinger

Cascading Gems of Spearfish Canyon

It’s no secret, Spearfish Canyon harbors some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Thousand foot limestone cliffs with a mixture of ponderosa pine, oak and birch, tower to the left and right of the canyon as travelers drive the gently curving roads of the scenic byway. The twelve mile stretch of scenic highway 14A between Spearfish and Savoy is home to three cascading gems that attract thousands of visitors every year. These gems are known as Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Falls, and Roughlock Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is the first stop on the trail of the cascading trio. From the Spearfish Canyon Country Club, the waterfall is 5.9 miles on scenic highway 14A. There is a long pull out on the right side of the road for viewers to pull over and park their motorcycle or car. Carefully crossing the road, visitors can stand on the observation deck to gain a closer view of the waterfall. The Bridal Veil Parking area gets quite congested with travelers during the summer season.

Spearfish Falls
Spearfish Falls

The second of the cascading trio is Spearfish Falls, which resides at the end of the canyon in Savoy. To hike to this beautiful waterfall, park at the Latchstring Restaurant parking lot and head to the right, crossing a wooden bridge, continue following well worn path along a chain link fence to the right. You will then come to a set of cinder blocks that have been put in place for stairs, follow those down. You will come to a set of metal stairs and a metal bridge. After descending the stairs and crossing the bridge, there will be a dirt and rocky path that has a wooden railing on the left for stability as you make the descent down to the Falls. This waterfall has quite the sound to it, if you stand in the right spot, you can even feel the spray from the falls meeting the rushing waters of Spearfish Creek below.

Roughlock Falls
Roughlock Falls

The third of the cascading trio is Roughlock Falls. There are two ways to approach the waterfall. You can take a right on Roughlock Falls road, and a short ways from Spearfish Canyon Lodge there will be a parking area for the Roughlock Falls nature trail on the left side of the road, which is a mile long hike to the bottom viewing deck for the Falls. Along this trail you will encounter the beautiful lush green foliage that is native to Spearfish Canyon. If you are lucky, you might even encounter some wildlife as well. Not in the mood for hiking along the nature trail, the picnic area is just a short one-mile drive up the road. There are three different viewing platforms for visitors to gain different perspectives at the top of the falls. A concrete path also connects from the top of the falls to the bottom viewing platform for a full front view.

 Picnic table at Roughlock Falls

Fancying a picnic while journeying through the Cascading Gems of Spearfish Canyon? Roughlock Falls has beautiful, shaded picnic areas on sight.

It's no secret, Spearfish Canyon is home to the some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills. If you haven't visited these beautiful Cascading Gems, make sure to put them on your list when you visit scenic Spearfish, South Dakota! Make sure to bring along the camera as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Escape crowds with these 3 serene West Spearfish water attractions

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, country mouse

If you like to get out of town but are not much of a hiker, head West of Spearfish on the service road and turn on McNenny Rd to check out these three peaceful treats.  They are less than five miles out of town.

This little lake is actually a sinkhole that comes from a spring around 140 feet deep.  There are trout in the water, but you cannot use live bait here.

It's a great little spot for a picnic or a walk, and there are restrooms.

From here, go West towards Crow Creek.

You will reach a fork that takes you to both Mirror Lakes and our number one pick (McNenny State Fish Hatchery).

There are two ponds here; upper and lower Mirror Lake.  Again, upper Mirror Lake flows from a spring.  The water is clean still, and you can see Crow Peak from its side.  

Fishing (trout) is permitted here as well as in Crow Creek, which you have to cross to get to the lakes.  You can kayak down Crow Creek, which is narrow and flows slowly.

Upper Mirror Lake is home to gargantuan snapping turtles that can be seen beneath the water and there are dirt/gravel bike trails all around the lakes.

Many of the fish in South Dakota waters are stocked from hatcheries.

This land was sold by James McNenny to the state in 1943.  Three years later, the US Fish and Wildlife Service allowed construction of a hatchery.

They raise salmon and trout (brown and rainbow) here.

You can tour the grounds to observe and learn about how the hatchery systems work.  During the summer they do guided tours, but group tours must be scheduled in advance.

McNenny provides fish for DC Booth National Fish Hatchery, Missouri River reservoirs, and Eastern South Dakota water sources.

There are three ponds on the grounds, which can be visited Monday through Friday from 8am to 4 pm.

Like Cox Lake, one of the ponds at McNenny is a sinkhole.  It is 121 feet deep and 26,000 years in the making.  The water is so blue it looks Caribbean.  

Check out these McNenny Road treasures and let us know which is your great place with the hashtag: