Located an hours drive southwest of Rapid City, and a 10 minute drive from Custer State Park, is one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Wind Cave National Park is one of the oldest parks in the country and showcases beauty both above and below the surface. Above ground, visitors can explore 28,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, hike on 30 miles of trail, picnic or camp. Below the surface, ranger-guided tours wind through narrow passageways filled with intricate boxwork and other geological phenomenons.
Hot Springs, SD 57747
There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails located in Wind Cave National Park. These trails vary from easy to strenuous, winding through mixed grass prairie and pine forests, revealing natural wonders and an abundance of wildlife including bison elk and mountain lions. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center.
- Shorter nature trails include Elk Mountain, Prairie Vista and Rankin Ridge.
- Rankin Ridge leads to the highest point in the park.
- Centennial Trail (#6/89) is a six mile segment of the longest trail in the Black Hills.
- Highland Creek (#7) winds along creeks and Wind Cave Canyon, creating the most diverse trail in the park.
- Boland Ridge offers scenic views of the Black Hills in one direction and the Great Plains in the other.
There are a variety of cave tours available at Wind Cave ranging in length and difficulty. Visitors can spend thirty minutes or four hours exploring this national treasure. All tours leave from the Visitor Center; times and fees vary.
REGULAR WALKING TOURS
Garden of Eden Tour
The least strenuous tour, Garden of Eden Tour, gives participants views of beautiful cave formations including boxwork, cave popcorn and flowstone.
Natural Entrance Tour
See where the cave was discovered and learn how Wind Cave got its name. Natural Entrance Tour takes place through the middle level of the cave.
The Fairgrounds Tour is Wind Cave’s most strenuous walking tour that offers discovery of larger rooms throughout the upper and middle levels of the cave.
Historic Candlelight Tour allows exploration of the less developed, unlit part of the cave.
Wild Cave Tour
Undeveloped cave exploration, the Wild Cave Tour involves crawling on uneven surfaces and low-ceiling encounters.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING
- The temperature inside the cave is a chilly 54 degrees at all times. Wearing a light jacket and sturdy walking shoes is recommended for all cave tours.
- Tickets are sold on a first come, first-served basis. The park does recommend visiting in the early hours of the day or on weekends to avoid long waits during peak summer visitation.
- Reservations are available for select tours and large groups.
For more information, including tour costs, call 605-745-4600 or visit the Wind Cave National Park page on the National Park Service website.
WIND CAVE HOURS
Wind Cave is open daily and year-round. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
April 28 – June 9 • 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
June 10 – August 18 • 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
August 19 – September 22 • 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
September 23 – October 13 • 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
October 13 – late April • 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Visitor Center contains exhibit rooms featuring cave exploration, cave formations, early cave history, the Civilian Conservation Corps, park wildlife and resource management, as well as an informational video about the park.
CAMPING AT WIND CAVE
Elk Mountain Campground is located in the mixed-grass prairie section of the park and accommodates tents, campers and RVs all year. Water is turned off in the winter.