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Hike to Devil’s Bathtub

hike to devils bathtub south dakota in spearfish canyon

Devil’s Bathtub is a great hike found in South Dakota’s Spearfish Canyon.  This is just one of the neat places to visit when in the Northern Black HillsSpearfish Canyon has a lot of unique natural features that are certainly worth exploring.

I didn’t have a lot of time to go hiking recently, but knew I could get one or two quick hikes in.  I picked Devils Bathtub and Spearfish Falls.  There are lots of areas in the canyon I love to visit, but it had been awhile since I’d been to the tub.  It really isn’t a long hike.

Directions to Devil’s Bathtub


From Spearfish it is really easy to find where the trail starts, once you know what you are looking for.  As you are traveling south on the scenic byway, you want to watch for the road “Cleopatra Place.”  It is just a few miles south of Bridal Veil Falls.  Pull into the small gravel parking lot.

Walk over the bridge across Spearfish Creek, then head right.  You will see the trail.  There is some private land here, be respectful and be sure to pickup all your trash.  As you start the hike you will see a small bridge that crosses Sunshine Creek, cross that and the hike has started.

The trail follows the creek, weaving from one side to the other.  There is a pretty good chance your feet will get wet on this hike.  It is less than a mile to the tub.  Watch out for the wedding tree on your way to the tub.

You will find a series of three tubs.  They change depending on the water flow and time of year.  Often there are small dams people build to allow the tubs to fill more.  The water is always very cold, even on the hottest day of the year, but I still love to jump in the water.

If you had only time for one hike in Spearfish Canyon, this is the one to do.  My second favorite has to be Community Caves, a shorter hike you won’t forget.

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.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Elsie Bennett June 15, 2018, 3:20 pm

    Hi, so my sister and I where wanting to do some hiking and camping, and I was wondering if there are any camping grounds near Devils bathtube?

    • Josh June 27, 2018, 7:16 pm

      The closest are Hanna, Tinton and Rod and Gun

  • Carol Reausaw September 14, 2018, 7:52 am

    Devil’s bathtub is getting “loved to death.” Encourage the Forest Service and the Game Fish and Parks to get busy and re-route the heavy traffic up there. The hike should start at the Homestake Hydro 2 building nearby. That would keep alll the traffic past the homes. Do you know that tour busses go there? Up to 1700 people have been there in one day? The county sheriff and highway superintendent are concerned about safety with all the congestion. And don’t ask the residents how they feel or you’ll get an earful. There are no bathrooms up there so imagine where the people go….. the environment is at risk.

    • JW HANSEN October 17, 2019, 10:26 pm

      I have been to the Devil’s Bathtub but once. That was many years ago and it was beautiful then.
      There might have to come a day when visitors to the Bathtub will need to be on a “reservation required” basis.
      Or, on a “purchase a ticket” (with a limit of reserved capacity) with the proceeds going to the Spearfish Canyon Homeowners Association.
      Both ideas should be given consideration if the crowds continue to grow.

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