Wind Cave National Park is an extremely diverse park, and arguably the best National Park in South Dakota. Not only are there a number of cave tours available under the ground, there is over 28,000 acres of Dakota Black Hills to explore above! Hiking, camping, and a number of ranger lead activities abound.
With 32 miles of hiking trails, Wind Cave National Park offers more hiking opportunity than any other National Park in South Dakota. The Cold Brook Canyon Trail provides 1.4 miles of moderate difficulty. It traverses a former prairie dog town and passes along the edge of a section of park that was recently burned. The Wind Cave Canyon Trail at 1.8 Miles is an easy trail that follows Wind Cave Canyon, one of the best places in the park to do bird watching. The limestone cliffs of Wind Cave Canyon and the large ponderosa pines provide homes to cliff swallows, horned owls, and a variety of woodpeckers. East Bison Flats Trail at 3.7 miles is a moderate trail accessed from the Wind Cave Canyon Trail and takes you across the rolling hills of the South Dakota prairie. It offers some of the most incredible views of the South Dakota wilderness, with it's wide breath taking vistas.
The Lookout Point Trail at 1.9 miles is a moderate trail that follows the rolling hills of the prairie, and ends at Beaver Creek. You can take a side trip here to Lookout Point during the summer if you want to see the area that was burned in 1997. Sanctuary Trail is 3.6 miles and of moderate difficulty. The trail crosses a large prairie dog town and ends at the Highland Creek Trail. You should take a navigation device with you as the trail can be hard to locate a certain times of the year. The Centennial Trail cuts through Wind Cave National Park and provides six miles of hiking trails. The southern access to the trail is on Highway 87, about 3/4 of a mile north of Highway 385. The northern access is on National Park Service Road 5, about 1-1/2 miles east of it's junction with Highway 87.
The Highland Creek Trail at 8.6 miles is the longest trail in Wind Cave National Park. The southern trail begins at the Wind Cave Canyon Trail and ends on National Park Service Road 5. This is a demanding trail and offers the most diverse view of Wind Cave National Park. Canyons, cliffs, Highland and Beaver Creek, ponderosa forest and prairie are all viewed on this wonderful trail. The Boland Ridge Trail is 2.7 miles long and is also demanding. Climbing up the ridgeline it offers wonderful panoramic views of Wind Cave National Park, the Black Hills and Battle Mountain.
Wind Cave National Park also offers two nature trails. The Elk Mountain Nature Trail is about 1-1/4 miles long and begins at the Elk Mountain Campground. There are a total of nine stops on the trail outlining some of the features of Wind Cave National Park. The Ridge Nature Trail is a one mile loop that begins and ends at the parking lot of Rankin Ridge. This has fourteen interpretive stops on the trail.
Trail maps can be obtained at the Park's Visitor Center. Unlike Jewel Cave National Monument to the west, which is located high in the Black Hills, most of Wind Cave National Park is located on the prairies of western South Dakota and offers a different view from most other parks in the area.
Camping At Wind Cave National Park...