Spearfish is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. Spearfish is situated at the northern tip of the Black Hills of South Dakota, one of the United States' most stunning national forests. The population was 10,494 at the 2010 census. Spearfish holds the world record for the fastest temperature change. On January 22, 1943 at about 7:30 a.m. MST, the temperature in Spearfish was -4° degrees F (-20°C). The chinook wind picked up speed rapidly, and two minutes later (7:32 a.m.) the temperature was +45°F above zero (+7°C). The 49-degree rise (27°C) in two minutes set a world record that still holds.
Spearfish, South Dakota offers and excellent combination of history and outdoor activities. Less than an hours drive northwest of Rapid City, Spearfish's position among the Black Hills has given the city a rich history with both Native Americans and the United States.
Before the Black Hills Gold Rush of 1876, the area was used by Native Americans (primarily bands of Sioux but others also ranged through the area) who would spear fish in the creek (hence the name of the creek and subsequently the city). Once the gold rush started, the city was founded in 1876 at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon, and was originally called Queen City. In the 20th century, the history of Spearfish was tied very closely to mining and tourism. The first store and the post office opened in 1877, and The Spearfish Norman School, known today as Black Hills State University, was established in 1883.
Spearfish's convenient location makes it the perfect place to explore this beautiful countryside. Outdoor Recreation Due to the town's position within the Black Hills, there are many outdoor activities to enjoy in and around Spearfish SD. Hikers can also ascend Lookout Mountain, one of the three mountains surrounding Spearfish. Cyclists enjoy nearby Big Hill, a system of bicycle trails ranging from beginner to intermediate. Fishing enthusiasts enjoy Spearfish's many nearby lakes, rivers, and creeks. The most popular is Sand Creek, west of Spearfish. Its clear waters are considered some of the finest trout fishing in the area.
Aside from the naturally inviting beauty of Spearfish, several area attractions are located nearby to educate and entertain, from the DC Booth Fish Hatchery to wildlife parks and live stage performances. DC Booth Historic Fish Hatchery is an educational center devoted to fish culture. Besides the original ponds, hatchery structure and icehouse, the center now includes: Underwater viewing areas and fish feeding, Festivals like DC Booth Day and the Family Creek Fair, Victorian Booth House, Museum and gift shop, and Picnic and playground areas. Spearfish is also home to the High Plains Western Heritage Center, where visitors can enjoy monthly live Western music and poetry shows in a spacious theatre and visit the transportation room, home to a stagecoach, chuckwagon, buggies and sleighs. Displays honor Native American lore, cowboy culture and the mining and forestry industries. The Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 300 animals of 40 different species including tigers, leopards, bears, African lions, mountain lions, coyotes, lynx, domestic animals and more. Matthews Opera House is home to an active community theater with live performances and art events throughout the year, visitors can stop by the opera house to see a local theatre production, browse the modern art gallery or attend the Festival in the Park.
When the colors change, the adventure and beauty heightens in Spearfish. Every September and October visitors from around the world come to experience the fall splendor of Spearfish Canyon. High limestone cliffs, waterfalls, towering spruces, Ponderosa pines, aspens, birches, burdocks, and box elders perfectly frame this creek carved gorge making Spearfish a truly awe-inspiring place during the autumn months.