Spearfish- A Day in December

by Kyler Flock | December 12, 2022
Family Friendly Outdoor Adventure Nature & Recreation Winter Activities

Spearfish is a year-round destination. A rarity in the tourism industry, this term is used for communities that cater to tourists for all four seasons. Most communities typically find tourism through one or two seasons- think hunting communities in the fall, lake recreation in the summer, or ski destinations in the winter. Now take Spearfish, the Queen City thrives during all four seasons with unique activities specific to each season. Spearfish sets itself away from the pack that is the Black Hills through the winter months when Spearfish is one of the few communities that remains active with plenty to do during the coldest time of the year. 

Winter in Spearfish can look like so many things for so many people. The hard adventurers can stay busy fueling adrenaline ice climbing in Spearfish Canyon, fat-biking through the Big Hill trail system, or snowshoeing through Eagle Cliff. Meanwhile, art and history lovers will be thrilled to find that all of Spearfish’s most iconic attractions are open year-round. Read below for the perfect December day in Spearfish.

Winter Caves in Spearfish

Most successful winter days in Spearfish always start at one of Spearfish's 10 amazing coffee shops. If you are not as familiar with the Spearfish coffee scene, check out this blog from National Coffee Day to learn about each unique shop. 

Fat Biking in Spearfish Canyon

Outdoor Adventure

Thanks to Spearfish Canyon, the hard adventurer will never be bored in Spearfish and during the winter the truth remains. In fact, one might even argue there is more to do in the Canyon during winter than in any other season.

An activity that the whole family can partake in would be snowshoeing. Snowfall can reach up to 70 inches annually in Spearfish Canyon, so places like Eagle Cliff collect snow for perfect conditions. Eagle Cliff offers up to 27 miles of hikeable tracks that range in difficulty making it the ideal family way to see the scenic side of winter.

Cycling is a year-round affair in Spearfish that boasts the best mountain biking and gravel grinding experiences in the region, yet also stays just as active come winter with the emergence of fat biking. These properly named fat bikes have thick, oversized tires designed for low-ground pressure to allow riders to ride on soft, unstable terrain like snow. You see fat-bikes as a way to commute in town, on the Spearfish Rec Path, but the most common place they are used would probably be the Big Hill Trail System. Big Hill is located on Tinton Road located in the Black Hills National Forest and is full of various trails groomed to perfect conditions. Big Hill is even home to a few winter bike races like the famous 28 Below Fat-bike Classic. But before you hit the trails, make sure you know your winter trail etiquette!

Families and friends of Spearfish also have the opportunity to hangout on historic grounds year-round. The DC Booth National Fish  Hatchery keeps visitors entertained yearly with winter photo contests, they get festive with holiday-themed events, and taking a walk through the grounds on a snowy morning is the perfect time to see the geese, ducks, and deer play in the snow.

DC Booth Fish Hatchery in Winter

Indoor Adventure 

Don’t get us wrong, sometimes the winters can be tough in Spearfish. In fact, back in 1943 Spearfish set the record for the fastest temperature drop when weather went from -4 degrees all the way up to the 45 degrees in two minutes. Cold, snowy days are not a novelty here. These days are the perfect days to browse through the wonderful arts and history scene Spearfish represents. Thanks to places like the Matthews Opera House, High Plaines Western Heritage Center, or the Nest, visitors can stay entertained while still staying warm during the winter months.

Matthews Opera House and Arts Center- Catch a live show at the Matthews Opera House historic theater built in 1908. All winter long the performances never stop at the Matthews. On any given winter night you will find a lively community theater troupe that performs a range of performances from tragedies to comedies, as well as a concert series with traveling performers playing at least once a month. Winter is especially timely for the occasional Matthew Opera House film series as well thanks to the large projector in the theater for all the film buffs out there. 

The High Plains Western Heritage Center- Take a step back in time through South Dakota history rain, shine, or snow at the High Plains Western Heritage Center. Unlike many of the museums and attractions in the Black Hills, the Heritage Center stays open year-round. One of the more popular exhibits you can find at the center is the Native American History display where visitors can find beautiful, beaded artwork or ceremonial pipes.

The Nest Art Gallery- Many visual artists call Spearfish home. This is part of the reason why Spearfish embraces the arts in such strong ways. One great spot in town where you can see the works of the many talented artists living in Spearfish is at The Nest art gallery. This quaint little gallery located in downtown Spearfish is the ideal spot to purchase any number of paintings, drawings or sculptures of your favorite artist. 

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