A discussion on Facebook last week with Spearfish photographer Chris Yushta made me realize not every photographer in the state knows every fun spot to take pictures. Palisades State Park is one of those places that maybe only the locals are familiar with. I will recycle a post about the park from 2008 here.
Palisades is one of the smaller state parks in South Dakota, but is filled with great photo opportunities.
Exit 406 off Interstate 90 at Brandon leads you north for 12 miles to Palisades State Park just south of the town of Garretson, northeast of Sioux Falls.
Split Rock Creek creates the deep gorge that is the main feature of the park. Pink quartzite walls flank both sides of the gorge. Hiking trails and vantage points on both sides of the creek offer great views from water level or high above.
Sioux Falls photographer Paul Schiller demonstrates one of the nerve-wracking positions from which to shoot. As always, please be careful when scrambling for that great photo spot.
Palisades is beautiful in any season, but especially in spring and fall. Shooting early and/or late in the day is productive almost anywhere, but the deep gorge here makes it a little less critical. The sun does not reach down to the water until later in the morning, and rises up the canyon walls fairly quickly in late afternoon.
As you might expect, serious rock climbers love Palisades. They can be included in photos to go with the spectacular scenery. Throughout the warm seasons you can expect to find climbers on just about any visit.
For more info on the park visit Palisades State Park.
Split Rock Creek also flows through the town of Garretson, cutting similar rock walls at Devil's Gulch. Legend has it that outlaw Jesse James escaped a pursuing posse by jumping his horse over the gorge in the city park. The Dells of the Big Sioux River near the town of Dell Rapids can also be found a few miles northwest of Garretson.