Spearfish is a small town located in the Western part of South Dakota best known for its amazing fly-fishing, waterfalls, hiking, and biking trails. It’s an amazing elopement location for the adventurous couple seeking something a little different for their elopement day. What I love about an elopement in Spearfish is that it’s not a super well-known elopement location so it will be more unique to your day. Not only can you enjoy the beautiful scenery but Spearfish also has a wide array of wildlife which is thriving! If you’re ready to learn more about how to elope in Spearfish, South Dakota, keep reading!!
Spearfish Montana is a somewhat remote town so there isn’t an airport super close. But luckily the drive from the closest airport to Spearfish isn’t too bad of a drive. If you are flying in, I would highly recommend renting a car.
Lookout Mountain is a forested area with a hike leading up to a beautiful lookout point with views of the city and nearby mountains. This is a 2.4 mile roundtrip hike so this is a great option for a couple wanting great views for their elopement without a super long hike. This hike can be a bit steep and challenging so definitely wear your hiking boots and ensure that your elopement attire is hiking-friendly.
Another epic area in South Dakota that you can elope in is Black Hills. The Black Hills area is home to the iconic Mt. Rushmore Monument and miles and miles of beautiful nature. You can spend your elopement day hiking and exploring Black Hills National Forest where there is so much beautiful scenery to take in which offers so many different backdrops for your photos. This area also offers tons of fun activities like off-roading, horseback riding, cave tours, and helicopter rides.
Spearfish Canyon has three major waterfalls and they are truly natural wonders that make for beautiful backdrops for your elopement. The three major waterfalls include:
This is the first waterfall you will see in Spearfish Canyon and the most accessible. To get to it, you just pull off the road into the pullout where there is plenty of parking. The springtime is the best time to visit this 60ft waterfall, as the winter snow is melting and creating a vigorous flow. There is a wooden observation deck where you can admire the falls. This is a great elopement location for the couple who wants the epicness of a waterfall in their elopement photos but doesn’t want to spend any time hiking.
Another waterfall in Spearfish Canyon that is relatively accessible is Roughlock Falls. This waterfall is located just behind Spearfish Canyon Lodge and requires a one-mile stroll through the forest along the creek. Along this short hike, there are a ton of different areas that are perfect for some portraits. The path is lined with beautiful large trees until you will eventually open up into a lush, open meadow that blooms with wildflowers in the summer. Once you reach the meadow the falls aren’t much further. The picturesque views that this trail offers make it one of the most beautiful hikes in the canyon.
Although not the biggest waterfall in Spearfish Canyon, this is often referred to as the most beautiful one. Its fan-like shape is super unique and the waterfall is pretty abundant year-round. And in the wintertime, these falls are insanely beautiful as they freeze over creating a scene that doesn’t look real. The hike to get to this waterfall is pretty short at only ¾ of a mile but it is steep and can be slippery. In the summertime, there are areas of this hike that are flourishing with wildflowers and berries.
If you want to elope in a location with easy access to lake views without having to hike for miles, Pactola Reservoir is perfect. It offers stunning lake views with rolling hills, mountains, and forest land surrounding it. It’s the perfect place to rent a canoe or enjoy a romantic picnic on the beach!
Bear Mountain offers one of the most unique hikes in the area as it is the leftover remnants of an ancient volcanic plug. The hike is 3.5 miles roundtrip and when you get to the top, you are rewarded with 360-degree views near Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood.
Dakota Point is a beautiful 2.2-mile round-trip hike that leads to Sheridan Lake. The trail is mostly a forested area and in the spring and early summer months, it flourishes with flowers and wild berries. Once you arrive at the lake you can go swimming, cliff jumping, or just enjoy the views of the lake. A trash-the-dress moment in the lake could be soooo cool if you’re up for that. I can already imagine how stunning the photos would be!
At the base of Spearfish Canyon, you will find a long grass field with rolling hills surrounding it. The photos here are absolutely stunning. In the colder months, this grass fades to yellow creating the perfect subtle backdrop that also provides dimension and movement. It may seem like a simple location, but it photographs super well and allows you and your partner to really be the stars of the photos!
Spearfish, South Dakota has that typical midwestern climate in which it experiences all four seasons. You can definitely elope in Spearfish year-round but it just depends on what you want!
The spring months in Spearfish offer pretty mild weather as it is slowly warming up from the winter months and the rainfall is slowly increasing. The snow is slowly melting making the waterfalls more abundant and the wildflowers are starting to bloom. The temperatures range from 44.1°F in March to 61.9°F in May. If you want to do a nice long hiking elopement without the heat, May is a great month for this.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for visitors as the weather is warm and the lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are flourishing. Although it is summer, the high temperatures only reach about 84 degrees which is pretty great in my opinion. You will be getting more rain during the summer months but it’s nothing crazy. This is the perfect time of year for a nice morning hike to a waterfall for your elopement ceremony and then celebrate with some time swimming and a picnic with a lake view.
Fall is a beautiful time of the year in Spearfish. The foliage is changing colors and the air is getting crisper. There is a pretty drastic drop in temperatures as it goes from 73 degrees in September to 43 degrees in November. So if you don’t like the cold temperatures but still want those fall vibes, September and October are the best months in fall for an elopement.
Winter is the coldest time in Spearfish and it often reaches freezing temperatures. The coolest part about Spearfish in the winter is that the waterfalls freeze over and it creates the most magical scene. So with the snow and the frozen waterfalls, it creates the perfect winter wonderland for a cozy and intimate elopement.
Spearfish, South Dakota is a place where outdoor activities thrive and if you are eloping here, you have to take advantage of that. There are tons of different things to do that can make your elopement experience that much more special and memorable!
The process of getting your South Dakota marriage license is pretty easy.
Yes, you need an officiant and two witnesses to elope in Spearfish, South Dakota. Your photographer can be one of those witnesses 😉
Nope. You do not need any sort of permit to elope in Spearfish, South Dakota which makes your elopement planning process a little easier!
I’m a travel elopement photographer who is absolutely obsessed with capturing moments for people in love that will live on forever!
My goal is for your photos to be as real & authentic as humanly possible, so that every time you open up your gallery, it’s like you’re right back there again, feeling alllllll those same feels you felt the first time around. I value real-life moments, not fake shit.
Wanting me to capture your epic South Dakota elopement?