Rock climbing in South Dakota
When I visited Palisades State Park recently, I saw two groups of climbers on the rock walls that line Split Rock Creek. I’m not a rock climber myself, but I’ve always been fascinated by it. Whether I’d ever have the guts to try it is debatable.
For those who are brave enough, there are plenty of rock-climibing opportunities in the state. Palisades State Park is probably the best location in eastern South Dakota. In and around the Black Hills of western South Dakota, popular rock-climbing sites include Spearfish Canyon, the Needles and the Cathedral Spires of Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake, Devils Tower in Wyoming and the area around Mount Rushmore.
The Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes tourism association recommends that all visiting rock-climbers use a guide service:
With all the climbing in the area, first-time climbers in the Black Hills, novice or expert, are recommended to use a guide service. Use vacation time seeing the world from the summit, not hiking around looking for the climbing routes.
The one guide service that is consistently mentioned in South Dakota rock-climbing publications is Sylvan Rocks, in Hill City.
Here’s a video from the Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association about rock-climbing with Sylvan Rocks (be patient; it might take awhile to start):