Sioux Falls – A visit to Falls Park

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

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.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

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.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

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.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

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.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

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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Read about my trip to visit the falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA


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33 thoughts on “Sioux Falls – A visit to Falls Park

  1. I’ve never been there either and don’t know much about the history of Sioux Falls, although have read accounts from other bloggers. Interesting piece of history so thank you for enlightening me! St Joseph’s Cathedral looks very beautiful.

  2. Even I had not heard of Sioux Falls before I stumbled upon this blog. The cathedral looks so beautiful in the night glow. There are so many places which don’t get written about. Thanks to travel bloggers like you, we get to learn about such gems.

  3. Thank you for this post on Sioux Falls. To be honest, traveling the US has never been on my radar but I enjoy living through other people’s experiences vicariously! I really wish you had made it to the church. It looks interesting!

  4. So glad to see a post on Sioux Falls! I remember stopping by briefly as a kid before seeing Mount Rushmore. The part you wrote about buses and walking really resonated with me — I’m so used to having public transit available and walking everywhere in NYC that my first question is usually “Where is the bus?” too! In other parts of the country (like in California), we did drive everywhere, even for short trips to the grocery store. Anyway, love your pictures of the falls & hope to get back there as an adult! 🙂

  5. I am impressed on how helpful the people from the bus company were. I wouldn’t have thought you can actually call a company to ask for information about a bus. That’s brilliant. The fall looks very pretty and not touristy at all, which it always a plus for me.

  6. Oooh… You managed to venture there inspite of the place not being so easy by public transport. That’s a dedication. The landscape looks fabulous and the cathedral looks majestic!

  7. Wow I’d never heard of this either but it looks like a really great place to visit! It’s so nice to read about different places and not just the most popular ones. Interesting that they don’t run a bus there, it seems like it would be popular.

  8. I think I saw the signs for Sioux Falls whilst on my road trip but never investigated. A 45 minute walk is nothing at all, I can’t believe they didn’t know how to walk there! The falls look beautiful, I would have definitely stopped if I had read this before passing through.

    • I had an afternoon there as I had to change bus so I decided to find out what there was to do, saw the pictures and as I love waterfalls decided I had to get into the town to see them 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to these falls or South Dakota, but this place looks so beautiful. I’d love to see more of the USA, so I might make it to the falls one day 🙂

  10. Even though I had never heard about the place, it sure looks amazing and worth seeing in real life. If I ever get to visit the US, I will make sure to have a short trip here. Thank you for sharing 🙂


  11. Great photos! I’ve never been to Sioux Falls, so reading your journey was very refreshing. The bike trail along the river sounds great, and I imagine the falls at night must be quite a view. Hope you have a good trip!

  12. I have not been to that part of the US, but there really is a lot to see. It does sounds like a difficult area to be backpacking though. I don’t blame you for being hesitant to hitchhike, I would have been too.

  13. I have to say I am very impressed you made it here. I’m American and never even made it to the state. Seems like an adventure was had getting there and you are right 45 minutes to walk to get somewhere, far too long for an American 😛 You’re pictures are beautiful though, and I think maybe if I do make it to that part of the US I might just stop 🙂

  14. Love hearing about off the normal tourist track things to do. It looks and sounds like such a beautiful place, and great how helpful they were.

  15. Oh wow. those are amazing! The photos are promising. Oh well, I also think its hard to do some travel coz of the unavailability of transportation but for me it is still a sure win to see that amazing and brilliant views! Wow! I salute you!

  16. I have always wanted to visit the US because of it’s nature. Never heard of the sioux falls before, but definetly a place to add to the list that gets longer and longer 🙂

  17. It’s true that people, especially out west don’t walk from place to place. It’s because everything is so far apart. It was great that your hotel was only 45 minutes from the falls. I think the falls look kind of funny, too. I’ve never driven into Sioux Falls. I will have to next time.

  18. Sometimes you see glorious pictures of places, but they don’t look that glorious in reality. And at times, you see ordinary pictures of places but they look extraordinary when you’re facing them. This is one of those! I’m sure that walk was peaceful and lovely.

  19. The Sioux falls really lovely. I missed this on our trip to Yellowstone National Park a couple of years ago. Reading your post and looking at the pictures made me realize what I missed. Hope to get there some day.

    • I think you would only need a day to explore the town. I wasn’t there for long enough to find any good restaurants though the cafe at the falls was nice, with a great view.

  20. I am exactly like you. I love to explore any new surroundings on foot. It makes a trip more exciting and eventful and you get to notice things you wouldnt have seen if you had been in a car or on a bus.
    Are there bikes to hire for cycling along the tow path by the river?

    • Cycling is very popular here, I am sure there must be places to hire bikes though I didn’t have chance to find out.

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