You'll find no better launching pad for your most memorable family adventures. From Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse to Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon, we're only a short drive away from the Black Hills' best attractions. Stop by the resort's front desk, and we'll be more than happy to give you directions, print you a map, or give our recommendations. Although Mount Rushmore is by far a must-see, we've gathered a list of our favorite stops that are lesser-known but just as worth your while. Browse through the collection of Elkhorn Ridge employee favorites, and don't be afraid to ask for a specific recommendation. From steakhouses to hiking trails, we'll tell you what the best of the best is.

D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery & Archives

The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives was established in 1896 and is one of the oldest fish hatcheries in the country. The hatchery spawns and releases up to 30,0000 rainbow trout each year and is a family favorite Spearfish stop. Located right next to the Spearfish City Park, families can enjoy a few hours touring the grounds, feeding the fish, and playing in the beautiful park. The Pond Gift Shop and information center is located in a restored turn-of-the-century hatchery building. The main fish viewing area includes feeding machines that visitors can operate. There is also an underwater viewing area beside the main fish area. The Spearfish Creek runs through the park and hatchery and has multiple picnic areas to enjoy the view.

D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery
Spearfish Canyon in the Fall

Spearfish Canyon

First on the list is the stunning Spearfish Canyon. The entrance is only a five-minute drive from the resort, and it takes about 30 minutes to drive to the "top." The best way to see the canyon in the peak season (September- October) is to leave early in the morning by leaving the resort and taking a right towards Deadwood. You’ll come to a fork at the beginning of Deadwood after coming down a large, steep hill. Keep right to go through town. Follow this road all the way until you see the Cheyenne Crossing, which is past Deadwood, Central City, and Lead. Then stop at the top for an unforgettable breakfast at a local favorite just before heading into the scenic byway! After that, be sure to park at the Latchstring and follow the trails down to the Spearfish Falls and drive to Roughlock Falls' trailhead, all located in tiny and beautifully captivating Savoy. For the adventure seekers, try the ‘76 Trail, a short but intense hike with the canyon's best views. Check out some real Hollywood/South Dakota history by continuing down Roughlock Falls Road to see exactly where the South Dakota classic “Dances with Wolves” was filmed. This is indicated by a sign on the right side of the road. If you ever wanted to hike in the canyon, not far from every pull-off in the canyon will be a trail. You have to look closely for each one! Keep an eye out for the family of mountain goats that have found a home in the canyon. This is a rare sight because they’re mainly found in the Southern Hills! No matter what, time spent in the Spearfish Canyon is time well spent. Our personal favorite time to visit is early fall!

Leones' Creamery

According to Buzzfeed, the best ice creamery in South Dakota is found just down the road in downtown Spearfish! Blink, and you might miss it! Located in the old town square to the left of the old city hall building. Enjoy a wide variety of constantly changing flavors that have a cleaver tie to other local businesses. For example, a staff favorite is the Black Bird Espresso flavor, which happens to be a coffee shop just two blocks away. We encourage you to step out of your vanilla comfort zone to try something new here. Very worth it!

Although we would highly recommend going there to experience Leones' atmosphere and then continuing to explore the rest of Spearfish by checking out the shops or one of our beautiful parks near the Spearfish Creek. We do have pints for sale in the Elkhorn Ridge Lodge!

Checkout their revolving flavor board on their website here.

Strawberry ice cream from Leones' Creamery in Spearfish South Dakota
Crow Peak Brewery located in Spearfish South Dakota

Local Breweries

If you'd like to try a local sampling of our favorite beers, head to Miller Creek Pub where you'll find a variety of rotating local beers on tap.

If you're looking to mingle with the locals on your vacation, there's no better place to find them than Crow Peak Brewery. We recommend trying the Canyon Cream Ale or the Pile of Dirt Porter. They also frequently have live music on the weekends!

For a more urban or modern atmosphere, try out Spearfish Brewing Co. downtown Spearfish. They have new flavors every month for every beer lover in your group. They have a large indoor and outdoor seating area with open windows for seeing the fermenting equipment and see how beer is made! 

Another popular stop is a logging themed brewery, Sawyer Brewing. This brewery is located directly next to Spearfish Creek with an extensive patio and multiple firepits, perfect for breathing in the summer air. Sawyer offers a selection of delicious wood-fire pizzas and is a perfect stop for the whole family.

If you're not a beer fan, Creekside Bean and Vine is next door to Sawyer Brewing, and they’d be able to put a tastey drink in your hand, whether it’s wine or coffee.