605 Outdoor Wonders: Palisades State Park
By Anna Stritecky
South Dakota’s own rose quartz beauty is just a half hour drive from Sioux Falls, right on the outskirts of Garretson. The Palisades are a 605 wonder, scaling up quartz rocks that overlook a surrounding river and trails for tourists to come and enjoy.
As for the history of this park, there was once a flour mill that was located on the bluff overlooking the park. The mill, powered by a large water-wheel installed along the rushing Split Rock Creek, was home to a once-inhabited Palisades Township. This town grew up around the success of the mill seeing that in 1886, silver was discovered downstream. The silver ore proved to be low in quality, however, and the nearly 300 claims were quickly dropped.
Since then, the Palisades have been turned into a state park. Even though I grew up in Sioux Falls, I hadn’t been to the Palisades until recently, where I was shown a whole new part of east river South Dakota. First and foremost, the hospitality that I received was unbelievable. As soon I pulled up, I chatted with the park ranger, who after I told that I had never been before, showed me the best part of the parks to see, the nicest trails to hike and so on and so forth.
After getting the inside scoop, I pulled up to my first trail. This trail was the perfect intensity of hiking, where it was not impossible to get through the path, but it still felt like you were experiencing the outdoors. Beneath the trails is a slow-moving river that you can either sit and enjoy, or there are rocks you can climb over to get onto the other side.
Walking up and down the Palisades, you experience a canyon of beautiful life forms while also enjoying people laying on the river, climbers scaling on the rocks, and just your average tourist enjoying the view. Even though this park is a little on the path less traveled, it is a gem of South Dakota outdoors.