Sioux Falls is home to several buildings made from locally mined quartzite. We thought it would be interesting to visit an area with quartzite in a natural setting.
Palisades State Park near Garretson has quartzite cliffs and spires that stand more than 50 feet high. The rock is about 1.2 billion years old. Palisades is South Dakota’s smallest park, consisting of about 157 acres. The park is about a 30-minute drive Sioux Falls and well worth the drive.
The park offers visitors great natural views, as well as sports opportunities, such as hiking, kayaking and rock climbing. We chose the hiking option. There are a few short trails you can take. We walked along Split Rock Creek. You can get walk up to the water. Of course, you’ll have to climb over some rocks in certain spots. But it’s worth it to be that close to the creek and get some excellent views.
The trail offered a beautiful view of the cliffs standing tall over the creek. The quartzite contains a soft material called pipestone. Native Americans once used the stone to help make pipes.
We came across some people climbing the cliffs. We started talking with them about rock climbing. It turned out they were students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln visiting the area as part of a class. It was impressive to listen to them talk about rock climbing and then watching them climb.
As we headed back to the parking area, we watched a couple of guys kayaking. Our eldest daughter loves kayaking.
The park has a 107-year-old single lane bridge that crosses Split Rock Creek. The bridge was constructed by an Omaha company. We had so many Nebraska connections in such a small area.
We had a great time during our visit. We plan to return and add a couple more area parks to our visit. We suggest checking out Palisades State Park.
For more information, please visit www.southdakota.com/palisades-state-park.