Wind Cave National Park provides both backcountry camping opportunities and improved campsites. The Elk Mountain Campground offers 75 campsites on a first come, first serve basis. Two sites offer accommodations for handicapped individuals. RV's and tent campers are allowed. You should be mindful that there are no hookups, dump stations or showers at the Elk Mountain Campground. Flush toilets and potable water are provided during the summer months, and stays are limited to 14 days.
Campfires are allowed in the Elk Mountain Campground, but you should only use the provided fire wood and fires are only allowed in the provided fire grates. The fire risk in the Black Hills of South Dakota is moderate to high during most of the summer months, so if you are preparing a campfire you should be mindful of this. The campsite is ringed by the Elk Mountain Nature Trail.
The Elk Mountain Campground amphitheater provides summertime fireside ranger programs on a variety of topics. Topics may include wildlife, plants, geology, park management and history. Nightly program titles are posted at the visitor center. The programs last about 45 minutes. Ranger lead fireside programs have greatly improved in the last few years and most are informative and very entertaining.
Backcountry camping opportunities are also available at Wind Cave National Park. Backcountry camping is limited to the northwest area of the park but still offers several different habitats including prairie, forest, and riparian All backcountry campers must have a backcountry use permit in their possession. These permits are free and can be obtained at the Wind Cave visitor center information desk or at the Centennial trailheads. Although natural water sources are available, it is recommend that you carry all the drinking water you will need. Any water obtained in the backcountry of Wind Cave National Park should be boiled or filtered. Open fires are not allowed due to the ever present fire risk. Cooking must be done on self-contained fuel stoves. Finally, your backcountry campsites must be at least 1/4 mile from, and out of sight of any paved or improved dirt road. Campsites also must be 100 feet away from any trail or any water source by park rules. Leave No Trace ethics general dictate being at least 300 feet away from a water source.
Wind Cave National Park is a must-see Black Hills attraction. Few places on earth offer the geological, geographical, and habit diversities found within it's boundaries. Located strategically close to other Black Hills National Park service attractions like Mount Rushmore National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, Devil's Tower National Monument, and Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National park is an excellent starting off point for any South Dakota adventure.
Just the plain facts about Wind Cave National Park...