The secret community caves of Spearfish Canyon are amazing to encounter for yourself, if you can handle the hike!
The hike is a relatively short one at around a half of a mile, but it is straight up most of the way!
You are really getting the inside track here, as many locals from our area have never even heard of this secret gem, let alone hiked it!
The secret community caves of Spearfish Canyon is one of the rockiest trails we have ever encountered in all our hiking, and it is a little on the scary side! You can see from the picture above that over the years the Canyon has rolled off massive amounts of rock, and it all has tumbled down from the caves to cover the pathway up.
Make no bones about it, it is a steep and very slippery slope due to the piles of rocks on the pathway. The secret community caves of Spearfish Canyon is one SERIOUS hike!
You can see from this picture somewhat of what I am talking about. One thing this picture does NOT capture is the fact of the angle, it is like straight up! This is what makes it a little on the scary side, as far as hikes go for us. We found ourselves going pretty slow and steady as we were climbing up. Every step must be tested for fastness before taking the next. This surprised us! We took our 11 year old along, who has been hiking with us since she was little, she had no problem navigating the path.
When you get there! Isn't this amazing? No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to capture the true beauty of the area, the moment, or the feelings it inspires. The secret community caves of Spearfish Canyon are nothing short of a miracle of time eroded formations!
This is a hard earned victory after the strenuous hike (my Daughters words!) but definitely worth it!
We are in the middle of a long summer drought, so the water is trickling slow, as so many others in our area are right now. Can you see the water flowing over the top? The wet spot at the bottom of the picture is where it is hitting. It was about 92 degrees the day we hiked this (WHAT were we thinking??) And the little waterfall was a great refresher for us all, nice and cool!
This is a shot from the inside looking out past the overhang with the water falling in the background.
You can't help but wonder as you sit here reflecting, who has been here before me? Was this ever a robbers hide out? Did one of the many men coming to this area with hopes to strike it rich shelter here while searching for gold?
This is a shot from the caves looking DOWN the path! Go slow and check your footing, we went sideways down for a good chunk of this really steep part. Shoes with great tread are recommended, and our walking stick gave me great comfort while gingerly picking my way down. Now, perhaps I should mention here that I am a little intimidated (scared, afraid) of heights. My family is not, so I asked them to rate this hike.
The secret community caves of Spearfish Canyon gets a high rate from us! Our hikes are rated against the standard of Harney Peak and Little Devils Tower being rated at a 5 which is our hardest. We rated those hikes due to length and height climbed from start to finish. We are not rock climbers, or professional athletes, so others may laugh at our ratings. We are just a little family that loves to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
That being said, my Husband and Daughter rated the Community Caves hike at a 4.5. They considered this a very strenuous hike as it was almost straight up, and slippery/moving rocks to navigate as well.
I would not recommend this hike for small children or parents carrying small children. But that's just me. You judge based on your own abilities. =)
Many more pictures of the Community Caves can be found here.
After completing this long hard hike, treat yourself to a drive thru Spearfish Canyon.
Community Caves is located off Highway 14A in Spearfish Canyon just past mile marker 13.
Take HWY 14A (Spearfish Canyon Nature Byway) off of Colorado Blvd. Watch Closely! Just after mile marker 13 you will round a curve and parallel park on the pavement. Cross the HWY to find 3 or 4 paths off the embankment, all lead to the same place.
You will walk about a 1/4 of a mile or less and cross the dry creek bed. Look closely for a well worn path on the other side. This was covered with brush the last time we went, but once on the other side of that the path was easy to find.
We personally take our DeLorme with us whenever we hike. If you have a hand held or car GPS you can plug these coordinates in to make it much easier to find!
Spearfish Canyon turn off: N 44 28.8901 W 103 50.6892
Community Caves Parking: N 44 27.0550 W 103 51.8119
Community Caves starting path: N 44 27.1100 W 103 51.7320
Community Caves: N 44 27.1190 W 103 51.5692
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