Thunderhead Falls, South Dakota

After our drive across Pine Ridge Reservation we stopped back at Mount Rushmore and Sandy retrieved her souvenirs. With no concrete plans we decided to head back north toward Rapid City. We passed The Crazy Horse Memorial and although we had originally planned to go there we were starting to count our pennies. We could see the carving from the road so the decision was made to skip it and save the entry fee.

A little farther along our road trip we saw the sign for Thunderhead Falls. It’s a waterfall that is underground. It had started to rain again so doing something “underground” seemed like a chance to stay dry.

Thunderhead Falls Entrance

We followed the signs and found a dirt parking lot. The first thing I did was inspect the car to see how much mud was covering it. Some had washed off as we drove through the light rain but there was still plenty of evidence of out earlier adventure.

There was cute little train displayed in the parking lot. At first I thought it was just a model or a toy but it turns out that this is an ore train. The cars were loaded in the mine and then the ore was brought back to the surface by this little train.

Ore Train

It was a short walk to the entrance but it was so pretty. The river that creates the falls in the mine poured out in another cascade and we had a little bridge to cross over it before reaching the entrance. It was nice on this rainy day. I bet it would be spectacular in sunshine.

We met a family leaving but other than that we were the only visitors. I guess the rain was keeping the tourists away. The lady at the ticket booth was very friendly and informative and tickets were only a couple of dollars each so well within our shrinking budgets.

She pointed us along a path that we followed on our own. No guide here but you really didn’t need one. The handout we were given with our ticket gave us the history and the mine wasn’t that deep. There were signs identifying different ore deposits and the reason they were important and then there was the falls itself.

I know underground falls aren’t all that rare but I had never seen one so thins was an enjoyable , if brief, side trip. A very nice “filler”

I think pictures say a thousand words and can do a better job of finishing this post off.

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