Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Out and About in Hot Springs, SD

Our first stopover in South Dakota was five nights in Hot Springs, a small town known as the gateway to the Black Hills. Hot Springs is the site of many springs, though they are not necessarily hot. The most famous spring, and the oldest attraction in the Black Hills, is Evans Plunge, an 87 degree spring-fed pool, first commercialized in 1890.

We stayed at a small private RV park, Kemo Sabay, just a mile North of town. The park is extremely rustic, but very peaceful and it suited our needs just fine.

We did some town walking one day among the many historical buildings, many made from native sandstone and dating back to the early 1890's.

Some well preserved old homes sit atop the bluff overlooking downtown.

Opened in 1907 as the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, this beautiful, historic sandstone building is now a VA hospital.

Downtown Hot Springs.

Fall River walking path through town.

Our arrival in South Dakota coincided with a mini heat wave between rain storms, so we found a local swimming hole, Cascade Falls, for a cool down. This multi-level, multi-depth falls and pools with 67 degree crystal clear water was just the ticket for a refreshing, fun cool down.

We shared the cascade with a few families since it was a Saturday.
There is a restroom and several picnic tables at the falls and we were impressed by how clean it all was.

The place where Hans was sitting in the photo above is upstream to the right of the two people sitting in this photo.
The pool in front of these people is at least 10 feet deep.

Another day we visited Angostura Recreation Area, a reservoir just south of town that has camping (beautiful sites, some with electric hookups) and water sports as well as a nine hole disc golf course.

This was a relatively easy and wide open disc golf course, though there was the danger of hitting some poison oak
if your disc went too far off course in some spots.

This nest was exposed by the mower.

Great views on this course.
With all the rain lately the mosquito's are coming out even in the grassy areas...Hans is whacking them in this shot!

There are some nice beaches along Angostura Reservoir.

We saw this guy on the way out and stopped to put him off the road.

No, it's not a snapping turtle!

On our last day we woke up to a heavy, steady rain and thunderstorm for a couple of hours. Once we deemed it dry enough we ventured out, back to Wind Cave National Park for another hike, hopefully this one would be free of streams without bridges! Just inside the South entrance to the park, East Bison Flats Trail mostly stays up on ridges, offering expansive views and potential for wildlife sightings. (And only a little poison oak but we came prepared this time in long pants.)

That's the trail after we've already walked through. It has barely been used this spring!
Fortunately we were able to follow posts every few hundred feet to keep us on track.

We would follow the ridge ahead to the high point on the left.

When we reached the end of the bluff we were treated to a group of bison just hanging out
grazing and resting and rolling and just being bison!
The perfect spot for lunchtime entertainment!

We loved watching these big guys roll in their red dirt wallows!

You handsome red devil you!

Rolling in the grass feels good too!

That's it for Hot Springs, tomorrow we make tracks to Custer. We hope you come along for the ride!

Rosie loved checking out all the old farm equipment lying around the RV park.


  1. The Hot Springs buildings are just phenomenal! What cool buildings they are. I'm going to have to look up poison oak so I can recognize it. There are mosquitoes in Moab, and they have, of course, found me. I have two bites on my left eyebrow that are enormous. They love ME. Who knew SD would be this interesting.

  2. Good for you for saving a life!

  3. I have wonderful childhood memories of summer afternoons spent at Angostura Reservoir. And also good times at Evans Plunge. I'll be heading back to SD for my yearly visit, but not until Labor Day. Enjoy your time in "the hills."

  4. You guys are finding such awesome places! Thanks so much for providing us with an itinerary for when we head to Wyoming and South Dakota. That swimming hole looks like a delightful place to cool off. We always rescue turtles on the road or trails, too. :-)

  5. its been a long time since I have been in South Dakota... guess I need to return someday in the RV...

  6. What a great concluding picture of Rosie. Those pools look wonderful. We didn't see them. Next time we'll leave more time for Hot Springs. Hope you got to the Mammoth Site? Really worth doing.

  7. Wow, love the variety of great things to see and do here. It seems like the old sanitariums were in the most beautiful places. There's one in St Helena, CA with views that are amazing. The pics of the bison rolling around are priceless, as is the closer with Rosie.

  8. What a neat little town! Love the spring you found for a dip...fun times:) You are making me itch between the mosquitoes and the poison oak. Gotta love watching the Buffalo take a dust bath. Love his red coat! That photo of Rosie on the tractor seat is a real keeper:)

  9. Don't you just love the grass in SD? It's such a unique kind of landscape. And so green! We've not seen grass like that lining the forest floor anywhere else. What kind of bird nest do you suppose that was? Killdeer?

    1. I feel like this must be Ireland with all the green!

      Killdeer makes sense to me, I sure don't know what it is!

  10. Cant wait to be there this summer/fall! The place is beautiful and very lush. And you captured well the Red Dragonfly, love it. But the best is Rosie, what a ham!

  11. We haven't done the Dakotas yet so I love reading along with you! Can't wait to hear about Custer. Those bison pics are hilarious!

  12. We are headed to Hot Springs in August and appreciate the pointers. We will have to check out the falls. We are still in Colorado for a few more weeks.


  13. This post made me cry....I spent my first 10 years of life in Hot Springs and our family spent a LOT of time at all of the spots you were at. Memories and so fun to see how it looks now vs back then in the 60s and 70s!

    1. It sure is a beautiful place! I'm glad I could give you a trip down memory lane!