Lower Falls Area

Falls Park @ Sioux Falls

Falls Park is a 123-acre urban park which surrounds the cascades on the Big Sioux River from which the city of Sioux Falls takes its name.  The river here drops over 100' in three distinct sections, all of which can be seen from a paved network of paths which run alongside them.  The upper drop is the least dramatic, though it is still beautiful as the Big Sioux drops perhaps five feet in a veil of water which just about spans the entire width of the river.  The middle falls is the most impressive and the highest.  The scene viewing these falls is as awesome as it is dramatic, from any viewpoint, as the river crashes over and around huge red cliffs.  The lower drop of the falls is smaller, though no less dramatic.  Best seen from the pedestrian bridge which crosses the river, the power of the Big Sioux here is compressed into a narrow channel barely a dozen yards wide.  On the east side of the river there's also a bit of history to enjoy.  A restaurant occupies what used to be Sioux Falls Light & Power building which was built in 1908.  Then there's the ruins of the once impressive Queen Bee Mill which, when completed in 1881, stood over six-stories above the nearby river.  Unfortunately the old mill all but completely burned in 1956, leaving the remains which are seen today.  Finally there's the observation tower at the north end of the park.  Free to climb, the 50' tower offers an awesome panorama of the entire park, the three falls, all backed by the skyline of Sioux Falls beyond.

This was my second visit to Falls Park, and I was no less impressed on this stop than the last.  The Big Sioux was running quite high as well, only adding to the spectacular scene.  This album doesn't really involve a hike in the truest sense.  It's just a photo tour of Falls Park as seen if you stroll the trails along the river, taking time to scramble out on the rocks occasionally to gain different vantage points.  This is a place I'd highly recommend visiting should you find yourself in the Sioux Falls vicinity.  Even if you're only passing through I'd encourage a quick detour here.  You will not be disappointed...


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