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Community Caves

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Community Caves

Community Caves (sometimes called Wild Cat Cavern) is a unique natural feature in Spearfish Canyon.   This is such a neat place, I find myself visiting every couple of months.  It almost seems like a different experience each time.  In the winter, it is a massive frozen waterfall and in the summer the small waterfall just trickles. Hiking in Spearfish Canyon is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

How do you get to Community Caves

It is easier to spot Community Caves from the road in the winter, because you can catch a glimpseimage small water fall at wild cat caves in Spearfish Canyon of the ice as you round the corner – just before the parking pullout.

Right after mile marker 13, there is a pullout for parking – park there.  It is 2.7 miles south on Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, set your odometer just after the turn off Colorado Blvd.

Once you are parked, cross the road.  You’ll find a well-worn path in the ditch follow it north for several yards.  Watch for a path down to the stream, follow that down and cross the stream.  This should put you at the base of the narrow ravine that leads up to Community Caves.   If not, just look around, the vegetation hides the path in the summer – you’ll know the path when you find it.  It is well-worn and there is a small stream (from the waterfall) that runs along the trail.

Hiking to Community Caves

Finding the trail the first time is the hardest part.  However, the trail is not a cake walk either.  It is steep and the top portion has lots of small loose rocks and gravel.  There are no shear drops and no rock climbing skills are required.  A walking stick may be helpful and being sure footed helps too.  I’m not ready to take my small kids on this hike yet – simply because I wouldn’t be able to carry them very well on the last bit of the trail.

Community Caves Video

Please enjoy this video I shot at the caves.  You can see the final portion of the trail in a couple of  places in the video.

Spearfish Canyon is part of the Black Hills National Forest.  Be sure to enjoy some of the other hikes and waterfalls in the area.

A few of my favorite hikes in the area are:

Devils Bathtub

Crow Peak

Old Baldy

Bear Butte

About the author: Josh loves to take pictures and sharing them on his South Dakota and the Black Hills blogs. When he is not busy being a Pharmacist he enjoys traveling with his family.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Darla August 3, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I have seen photos of this for several years, and we finally found it one month ago.Whew! It is quite a steep hike, but SO worth it. The guys went on ahead to the very top and said the views of the canyon were amazing up there. We would like to attempt in early spring, but I am concerned about hiking that steep path on ice.

  • Teigan March 8, 2012, 4:25 pm

    So, this hike can be done in the winter, right? Do you recommend snowshoes or not? I lived in Spearfish for 5 years and never knew this existed!

    • Josh March 9, 2012, 1:30 am

      I love going there in the winter, you don’t need snowshoes – but crampons or spikes are nice to have. Here are my photos of community caves in the winter.

  • Teena October 21, 2012, 12:18 am

    I am so glad I ran across your web site! Spearfish canyon is my favorite place to go in the world, I live in Nebraska it’s a 3 hour drive to get there. My parents live in Rapid and we go camping in the canyon at least once every summer. We have hiked most of the trails and I never new the community caves were there. If there are other hidden gems in the Black Hills that are off the beaten path let me know.

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