Before I travelled to the US, Sioux Falls was not a place I had ever heard of, but as I was visting a friend in Watertown, South Dakota and then going to Yellowstone National Park, my route took me through Sioux Falls. I had a look on google and saw the pictures of the falls and so I decided I had to get down to the town to see them while I was passing through.
I said bye to my friend and his wife at a small gas station in Watertown just off the freeway and got the greyhound bus down to Sioux Falls. My next bus across to Rapid City was not until the next day so I had the afternoon & evening to explore downtown Sioux Falls. The bus station is quite far out of town so I booked a motel as near as I could to the bus station so that I wouldn’t have far to walk that night or the next day.
As I started walking the 300 metres to my hotel I noticed that there was no footpath across the bridge crossing the freeway to get to my hotel. I could see the hotel but was like how do I get there as it was a 4 lane busy highway with no footpath!! Luckily in the centre of the road was a divide with a bit of a raised section so I decided that would be a bit safer than walking along the side of the road!!
After about 15 minutes of avoiding cars and trucks I made it to the Guesthouse Inn & Suites, Sioux Falls, where I checked in and asked reception how to get to the falls in Sioux Falls. I was asked if I had a car to which I replied “No, can I get a bus”, to which I was told, no idea about the buses around here!! “Can I walk” I asked, “Oh no it’s miles away, too far to walk”.
Once I got in my room I rung the local bus company to ask if there were any buses. Luckily I got through to a very helpful guy who told me exactly where the nearest bus stop was and the times of the buses and also how to get back. I then walked the 5 minutes and caught the bus into the town of Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the state of South Dakota and was first settled in 1856 around the falls on Big Sioux river which were created around 14,000 years ago during the last ice age. When the railroads arrived in 1880’s the town started expanding to what it is today.
There is a 16 mile bike trail along the river and this is where I got off the bus and started my walk down to the falls park.
Its open from 9am to 9pm, and in the evening the falls are lit up which is a great sight.
I decided to first visit the Visitors Centre and the Observation Tower, you can climb up the tower for free which is 5 stories high and has amazing views of the falls and the surrounding area.
I then decided to walk around the area and see the few buildings remaining on the site and have a closer look at the waterfalls.
Before it got dark I decided to stop and have a snack at the cafe overlooking the falls. It used to house the hydroelectric generators before it was abandoned in 1974, its now a great cafe with amazing views.
As it was getting dark I decided to make my way back to the hotel. I was in between buses so decided to see if I could walk back rather than waiting.
I passed by the St Joseph’s Cathedral which was all lit up, but unfortunately it was shut so I couldn’t explore further.
I made it back to the hotel in 45 mins, so not really too far to walk!! I didn’t see one person walking though while I was walking back to the hotel!! I guess everyone has cars and use them for the smallest journeys!!
That night was spent researching the next part of my trip to Rapid City with a visit to Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park.
The next day I got lucky when I was checking out, the maintenance guy in the hotel saw me walking out with my backpack on and asked if I wanted a lift to the bus station. Not sure if it was safe, but being a typical english person and feeling I couldn’t say no, I said thank you and got in the car.
Luckily I safely made the short distance to the bus station and the guy was fascinated that I was backpacking my way around the US and the places I had seen and was planning on seeing. He had 2 jobs just to try and make ends meet, a very different life to mine.
After a bit of a wait, it was back on the greyhound bus and on to my next adventure in Rapid City.
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