South Dakota: Spearfish Canyon & Devil's Bathtub


The hike to Devil's Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon is gorgeous.  It's a little confusing as to how to find the trail when you arrive.  After parking, go to the north end of the parking lot and walk on a path along Spearfish Creek.  You'll reach a road named Cleopatra Place and then head southeast on trails alongside Squaw Creek.

Tips for Hiking to Devil's Bathtub
  • Arrive early before the crowds.
  • There is no cell reception in the canyon.
  • Don't take kids younger than 5 years old.
  • Wear sturdy water shoes for creek crossings.
  • Bring extra clothes if you plan to try the natural water slide at the end.

There are a couple Designated Trail signs at the beginning to keep you off private property.  After that, you can walk along either side of the creek and you'll cross the creek many times throughout your hike.

I strongly recommend wearing sturdy water shoes, like Keens, for this hike.

My 6 year-old kids did great on this hike, but needed assistance in a couple places with high drop-offs.  The youngest I'd recommend is probably 5 years old.

It's about a mile to reach devil's bathtub.  From a distance, the natural water slide doesn't seem that steep.  However, from the top it was too scary for my 6 year-olds, so they skipped the slide.

We encountered only two other families on our hike out.  On the way back though, we saw many families which made it harder to walk along the narrow trails.  By the time we reached the parking lot, we found it was full at 11:30.  There had only been 3 cars in the parking lot when we arrived at 9:30 am.