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Devil’s Bathtub

image Devil's Bathtub Spearfish Canyon South Dakota

Hiking Devils Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon

I have fond childhood memories hiking up to Devil’s Bathtub in the South Dakota portion of the Black Hills National Forest.  Hiking this little limestone corridor is neat whether you are young or old.  This hike has to be high on the “must do list” in Spearfish Canyon.

First of all, plan on getting at least your feet wet – maybe all of you.  If you are a barefoot hikingimage limestone walls Devil's Bathtub Spearfish Canyon enthusiast, get out your FiveFingers KSO’s.  I wore mine and had great traction on both mossy rocks and slippery logs.  This is a great hot day hike, a good portion of the hike can be right in the middle of the creek.

Don’t forget your camera.  The limestone walls are just amazing.  Some places the walls are covered in moss and almost look like walls from an ancient city.  In other places, the layers are exposed like a pile of rough paper.  The vegetation is lush, it feels like a rain forest.  The day we hiked it there where many butterflies.

Bring more snacks and water than you’ll need.  You may end up staying longer than you planned.  We hung out under a ledge while a Black Hills thunderstorm passed through the area.  You and your children will be hungry after playing in the pools.

Is this a hike for small kids? Yes, if you don’t mind carrying them most of the way.  We took our almost 2 year-old and our 3 and 1/2 year-old.  My wife carried one in the Boba Carrier and I hiked with or carried the other child.  The trail is steep and a bit slippery in place – so caution is needed.  However,  if you have hiking experience take your little kids – they will have so much fun playing in the water.

How to find Devil’s Bathtub

002From Spearfish head south on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.  A few miles after Bridal Veil Falls, you’ll see a road sign for Cleopatra Place.  Park in the small gravel parking area before the bridge.  Walk over the bridge and head to the right.  Follow Sunshine Creek up to Devil’s Bathtub, about a mile or so.  The path is not marked, however there are several well worn trails up to the tub.

If you plan on spending time hiking in Spearfish Canyon I’d encourage you to pickup both Black Hills – Northeast, South Dakota Trails Illustrated Map #751 and Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills: Including the Badlands. These will make navigating the Black Hills and deciding what to do much easier.

Devil’s Bathtub Video

Please enjoy this video I shot at the tub

About the author: Josh loves to take pictures and share them on his South Dakota and the Black Hills blogs.  Plus he enjoys traveling with his family any chance he gets.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Diane Dhaemers June 22, 2012, 8:44 am

    Here is information on how to get to the Devil’s bathtub and it also gives you some previews of what it looks like.

  • Fritz July 5, 2012, 3:03 pm

    I’ve looked at a few of the links you’ve posted: lookout mtn, community caves and devil’s bathtub. Visiting some family in Spearfish this summer and the info you’ve posted looks to be very helpful if we’d like to find these!

    Thanks for taking time to share.

    • Josh July 5, 2012, 7:24 pm


  • MaryAnn May 22, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Tried taking a couple out there this past weekend (May 18) to do some engagement photos, since the October thundersnow the path ways are a little rugged. Anyone going out there this year just be careful on your hike. We didn’t even get to cross the creek to get all the way back due to how fast the water was flowing.

  • Jenn July 3, 2014, 10:36 am

    How long is the hike to devils bathtub?

  • Jennifer jahna July 4, 2017, 7:54 pm

    We went to this on our family vacation
    And the local sherriff was having our vehicles towed…. i had to pay off tow truck guy cash to not have it towed!
    Alot did get towed and u have no cell reception to call on finding out where yur car was towed too! So they make yur family walk down a winding narrow road to find cell reception…which is very dangerous with little kids!!!! Its a very little parking lot so u park along road, they have some signage up but not enough to help with amount of visitors!!!
    We heard locals call the sherriff…but no tickets….just tow yur car somewhere and u have to figureout how to get out and get car back…
    Very sad situation to put families in

  • Shirryka LaFountaine August 13, 2018, 10:21 am

    My fiance and I are taking our first trip to Spearfish and are looking for hiking opportunities with scenic views. We have 2 small dogs (7 years old) and were wondering if this trail or any other trails in the area are pet friendly? They love the outdoors and are both under 12 pounds so we can carry when necessary. I just don’t want to break any rules.

    • Tracy September 5, 2018, 1:24 pm

      We did his trail a few days ago and saw lots of dogs on it! As long as they don’t mind getting wet you should be fine.

  • Cheryl September 13, 2021, 9:41 pm

    You can no longer park on Cleopatra. Just up the road about 70 yards is a free parking lot for hikers.

  • Sigara Markaları October 16, 2022, 2:45 am

    Really good article for us, good job.

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