Tuesday, September 23, 2008

South Dakota autumn colors

Now that autumn has reached this part of the country, I'm guessing there are quite a few photographers out trying to catch the fall colors like I am.

While places like Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills, Sica Hollow in the northeast corner and Newton Hills near Canton get the bulk of the publicity for South Dakota's autumn splendor, I have a new favorite place to shoot. A six-mile stretch of Highway 44 west of the Platte-Winner Bridge over the Missouri River provides a huge variety of colors and easy access for big vistas.

Several scenic overlooks and wide shoulders on the highway make it convenient and safe for photographers to stop and get good shots of the valleys that form the Missouri River breaks.

I'm not going to claim this area has the size and variety of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but when I first found these valleys that is what they reminded me of.

In a stroke of photographer's dumb luck, a deer wandered into that little open meadow in the bottom right just as I was shooting.

The Snake Creek Recreation Area is on the east end of the bridge and has several good spots for fall colors as well. The Shannon Hiking Trail brings you among the river breaks.

The pictures above were taken in mid-morning and would probably be even better earlier in the day.

You can see what I had to say earlier about two of the state's other autumn hotspots here - Spearfish Canyon

and Sica Hollow State Park.

Photo above by Scott Howard, who while a videographer by trade, is an excellent still photographer even though he shoots with those white lenses. Maybe publishing his shot here will give him the boost to get started on the photo blog he keeps talking about.


Winter is coming said...

What restaurant are those three women eating at? Looks like a hell of a place to have lunch!

And thanks for this site. I'm going on my first vacation to South Dakota next month and your site is chock full of great places to visit that I haven't found looking on other travel sites.

Chad Coppess said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Those women are eating at the Latchstring Inn in Spearfish Canyon. http://www.spfcanyon.com/dining.html

Glad to hear you are coming to South Dakota. I'll post some other dining ideas in response to your other question as well.