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Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, United States - OutdoorPlaces.Com

 Wind Cave National Park, United States, South Dakota

Cave Tours at Wind Cave National Park
Hiking At Wind Cave National Park
Camping At Wind Cave National Park
Just The Plain Facts About Wind Cave National Park

 

 Cave Formations, Wind Cave National Park, National Park Service Picture, Public Domain
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park is the big brother to Jewel Cave National Monument.  Tom and Jesse Bingham are credited with the discovery of Wind Cave in 1881.  Exploration has revealed 87 miles of passageways to date, which makes Wind Cave the fifth largest cave system in the United States, and eighth in the world.

Sadly, the park was heavily exploited during it's early days.  Many features were removed, names carved on walls, and a lot of trash and outside debris was brought in.  In 1903 Wind Cave National Park was established.  Serious exploration of the caves did not begin until 1956, and during 1963 to 1965 major additions to the know territory of Wind Cave were made.  Exploration is still on going today (and the ranks of which cave is largest changes frequently).

Not only does Wind Cave National Park protect the 87 miles of passageways below it, but is home to a host of Black Hills features including mountains, ponderosa forest, prairies, and the most miles of established, maintained, hiking trails of all of the National Park facilities located in South Dakota.  Wind Cave National Park by default is also an excellent jumping off point to see other Black Hills attractions like Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Jewel Cave National Monument, and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
 

 
FUN FACT: 
The depths of Wind Cave are flooded with a large underground lake.  Calcite Rafts, a thin layer of calcite stone, floats on the top of the lake.  The unusual stone formation will sink when the surface tension of the water is broken.  These formations have been found in dry parts of the cave, adding to the evidence that the water levels in the Black Hills have rose and receded over the millennium, creating the numerous caves we can see today.
 

 
Wind Cave National Park also offers a wider variety of tours and programs for visitors than it's smaller sibling to the west, Jewel Cave National Monument.  You should note that there is major road construction going on presently in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and access to the park can be troublesome through the year 2000.  The best route is through Custer State Park on scenic US 87, which also connects to the Needles Highway.

Cave Tours At Wind Cave National Park...
 

 

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