No. 63: Placerville
THE SCENE: Formerly a small gold-mining town along Rapid Creek, Placerville is now a hidden haven of wonder in the central Black Hills. Tucked beneath a sheer rock face that hovers over the winding creek, this area is home to a creekside trail and super fishing opportunities. A small walking bridge provides a place for respite among towering pines and a wide range of roaming wildlife and birds of prey. The occasional gold miner can still be seen panning the creek or digging in the dirt here. But mostly, the sweet-smelling air and the soothing babble of Rapid Creek provide a backdrop for a scenic, easy-to-access escape.
GETTING THERE: From Rapid City, take Highway 44 west for about nine miles, then turn left onto a gravel road at the sign for Placerville Church Camp. Drive two bumpy, hilly miles to a small National Forest parking area.
EXPERT TIP: The church camp run by the United Church of Christ near the end of the road is available for rent for outings and weddings. Fishing here is catch-and-release only and live bait is not allowed.