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Black Hills: Grizzly Bear Falls
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On Grizzly Bear Creek.
Photo: Michael Zimny

Grizzly Bear Falls is a small, semi-secret waterfall near Mount Rushmore. Though it is no Niagara, the joy is in walking the little-known trail along scenic Grizzly Bear Creek, a deep cut through the granite core of the Black Hills, strewn with giant boulders carpeted with lichens and moss.

To get there, take the 16A to Grizzly Creek Primitive Campground. The trail begins across from campsite 12, bearing towards the first of five creek crossings (none are bridged). Though the trail is unmarked, it is fairly well-maintained. There is a Y about a mile in where you want to stay right. The trail ends above the falls (43.86466, -103.45395), a little less than a mile and half in.

Grizzly Bear Falls.
Exotic local wildlife.

Your SDPB Outdoors correspondent walked to the falls on a recent, snowy April morning. As the creek threads its way through enormous obstacles, there are many riffles and rapids — the sound of rushing water always ahead. Summer swimming holes are in abundance.