Split Rock Creek and Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Split Rock Creek 6In June of 2004, I spent part of week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the LWMS convention.  It is a beautiful area and was glad I got to explore a little before the convention started. I knew about Falls Park and was looking forward to seeing it. However, I did some research and found quite a few other exciting things to do in the area. One place I was able to visit was a place called Split Rock Creek and Park. It is a great place for camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing and picnicking.

Split Rock Creek 5Folklore also has it that on September 21, 1876, while escaping from a posse hot on his heels, Jesse James supposedly soared over the20 foot gorge on horseback. However, the park’s recent history, including a pioneer village, flour mill and silver mine, is no match for the old legends and fables.

Split Rock Creek 2Although it’s one of South Dakota’s smallest parks, the sheer cliffs here create a dramatic setting, as well as some of the best rock climbing in the state. The 80 foot towering rock cliffs provide energetic climbers with a series of routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.12. Here, organized groups hone their scaling and rappelling skills.

Split Rock Creek 3I didn’t do any of that, but I did take a tour on a pontoon boat with some other LWMS ladies, and we saw a lot of people climbing. We also learned a lot about the history of the area and more about Jesse James. It was a great tour and the weather was perfect for a boat ride. Here is a link to a website with more information about the area.

Split Rock Creek 1I would definitely suggest checking out Split Rock Creek and the area around it when visiting Sioux Falls. I am so I got in the night before the convention and was able to take this wonderful tour. Below is some more info about the area and contact info. Happy travels.

Split Rock Creek 4Trails: Scenic hiking trail to Devil’s Falls and Devil’s Stairway. A footbridge spans the chasm that legend claims Jesse James’ horse jumped to escape a posse. Free entrance May – October.

Split Rock Creek 7Camping: Primitive camping – 11 electrical pads at Split Rock. Camping reservations: 605-594-2225. Modern camping facilities & camping cabins at Palisades. For reservations: 1-800-710-2267

Split Rock Creek 8Canoe/Kayak: During high water flow in spring and after heavy summer rain, Split Rock Creek is one of South Dakota’s best streams for white-water paddling. The stream drops 130 feet in 8 miles between the SD Hwy. 11 access west of Garretson through Palisades State Park to the SD Hwy. 11 access north of Corson. Access can be found in Palisades State Park as well as McHardy Park in Brandon. The sheer walls of red quartzite that line portions of the creek provide a scenic trip for paddlers. If you do like to white river raft, here is a link to my post –  Six White Water Rivers to Paddle this Summer.

Split Rock Visitor Information


608 5th St, Garretson, SD 57030




Open Year-round. Between Oct. 1 and April 30, showers, flush toilets and other water systems may be closed. Please contact the park directly for its current status. Vault toilets usually remain open.


  • Daily: $8 per vehicle
  • Annual: $36 first vehicle | $18 for second vehicle | $80 transferable license
  • Campsites – electrical: $26 per night
  • Campsites – non-electrical: Tent-Only: $15 per night
  • Cabins: $55 per night
  • Lodge: $280 per night


  • Camping Cabins
  • Camping Site
  • Lodge
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Showers


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