Ever been told to "hang in there?"
You hear that a lot around Palisades State Park.
A small, but scenic geologic wonder, Palisades State Park is nestled among the sheer cliffs overlooking the Split Rock Creek just a short half-hour’s drive from Sioux Falls. The park offers the regular menu of outdoor recreation opportunities, including camping, hiking, picnicking, and sight-seeing.
Palisades also offers a unique form of outdoor excitement for the more adventuresome at heart. It is one of just a few premier rock climbing sites in the Midwest. Numerous climbing routes are easily accessed and provide a wide assortment of climbing experiences. The 1.6 billion year old Sioux quartzite formations play host to a variety of face and crack climbs, with even a few hidden bouldering sites thrown in for good measure. Whether top-roping a novice route on South Wall or Rattlesnake Rock, or a more ambitious route at Swing Set Cove or on Positron, climbers from all over the Midwest make the trek to Palisades to take on the forces of gravity.
Since climbing is just one of many popular activities taking place at Palisades, there are a number of common courtesies expected. Also, since the geologic resources and related ecosystems are unique, and in some cases quite fragile, a few climbing restrictions have been developed over the years. In response, a group of local climbers worked closely with park officials to develop a brochure about Rock Climbing Safety and Etiquette at Palisades State Park. The brochure offers special tips on low-impact climbing, resource protection, co-existing with other park visitors and safe climbing practices.
The nearby City of Garretson, just two miles north of the park, provides all the services necessary for an extended visit. With a campground, gas stations, grocery store, eating establishments, a motel, convenience stores, specialty shops, a new library, mechanics and even a few local "watering holes", this small community does it right when it comes to welcoming the traveling public. And for the history buff seeking to learn more about the legendary Jesse James and his "leap of faith", the Garretson city park at Devil’s Gulch adds a unique dimension to what the Palisades area has to offer.
When you think of rock climbing, you don’t always have to venture out to the mountains. Sometimes a prairie oasis like Palisades State Park may offer more than meets the eye. And the views experienced while hanging from a rope fifty feet above the waters of Split Rock Creek are quite different than those experienced by other park visitors. It’s all a matter of perspective!
Palisades State Park is located 10 miles north of I-90 off Exit 406 near Brandon.
For more info, contact Palisades State Park, 25495 485th Avenue, Garretson, SD 57030.