The Legend Of South Dakota’s Devil’s Gulch Will Give You Goosebumps

Devil’s Gulch is one of Garretson’s most beautiful natural wonders. Quartzite cliffs tower above Split Rock Creek on both sides of the gulch, and the scenery here draws people from all over to hike the trails at Devil’s Gulch Park. There’s also a fascinating legend surrounding this area.

In September of 1876, Jesse James and his gang were on the run, after robbing a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, and the law was catching up to them. As the gang got to Devil’s Gulch, a posse was right behind them. Jesse faced a choice – jump the 18-foot-wide gulch, or take his chances with the law. Legend says that he gritted his teeth and urged his (stolen) horse to jump the gulch. The successful jump allowed him to evade the law and flee to Missouri.

Is it possible to make this jump on a horse? It might seem impossible when you see it in person, but according to Wikipedia, the world’s record for the longest jump on a horse is 28 feet – a full ten feet more than Devil’s Gulch. Still, Jesse James was riding a stolen horse, and one that presumably didn’t have a history of making long jumps across deep and scary gulches. Take a look at Devil’s Gulch and see what you think…

What do you think? Have you ever stood in the spot where Jesse James supposedly jumped his horse across? Do you think it’s possible?

For more of South Dakota’s urban legends, take a look at this article.