Located eight miles south of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Cascade Falls boasts a stunning crystal-clear swimming hole. Dubbed “the Old Swimming Hole”, the Cascade Falls draws crowds from across the globe, especially during summer months when visitors are looking to escape more intense temperatures.
The town of Cascade, SD, was discovered in the 1880s and was considered a prime location due to the warm mineral waters and nearby railroad. While the town saw rapid growth, local Hot Springs businessman Fred Evans and a sudden economic crash halted expansion.
While the dreams of an extensive and high-end Cascade mineral spa were crushed, the “Old Swimming Hole” stood as an area where locals could enjoy gorgeous turquoise waters filled with beneficial minerals.
The Old Swimming Hole at Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls remains a warm spot for South Dakota locals and visitors. Sightseers can enjoy the beauty of waters flowing down the delicate cascade waterfall while adventure-seekers will have the time of their lives jumping into the swimming hole.
The clear waters are fed by the Cascade Creek, overflowing with mineral water stemming from six different Artesian springs. These springs ensure that the water is a consistent crisp 67 degrees, the perfect temp for cooling down during the summer months.
That said, the Cascade Falls swimming hole is less of a typical “hot spring” destination and more of a cooler option to escape the heat. Yet, the waters aren’t as brisk as most creeks, allowing guests to slide right in with ease.
The area has gentle rocks to lounge and varying depths to accommodate swimmers of all ages. The ideal temperature also allows for an influx of unique vegetation growth that won’t be found anywhere else in South Dakota. Such location-specific plants include ferns, tulip gentian, and stream orchid trees.
Finding Cascade Falls is simple. Just take the South Dakota Highway 71 from Hot Springs, South Dakota, for approximately six miles until you’ve reached the parking lot. You can enjoy a tasty lunch with your folks at the picnic tables before walking the short distance to the falls.
Although you can explore the creek and surrounding areas, the Cascade Falls swimming hole (located at the bottom, closest to the parking lot) is deemed the only safe area for swimming. The creek and springs water may be too fast, and nearby poison ivy and potential rattlesnake population is a risk.
Address: Cascade Springs, South Dakota
Season: Year-round (Spring/Summer Suggested)