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

 Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, United States, The Facts

Operating Hours
Improved Campsites
Improved Shelters, Cabins
Related Web Sites

Fees & Permits
What To See
Children's Activities
Mountain Biking
 Cave Exploration
Backcountry Primitive Camping
Lodges or Motel Type Facilities
Major Airline Access
Food, Fuel & Shopping


Address:  top
Wind Cave National Park
Hot Springs, SD  57747

Phone:  top

Click for Hot Springs, South Dakota Forecast

Operating Hours:  top
Visitor Center
mid-October to mid-March:  8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
mid-March to early May:  8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
May:  8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
early June to late September:  8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
October:  8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Closed:  Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

Cave Tours

  • Garden of Eden Tour:  year round, typically every hour, call ahead first

  • Natural Entrance Tour:  summer only, ever hour, call ahead first

  • Fairgrounds Tour:  summery only, every couple of hours, call ahead first

  • Candlelight Tour:  1:00 PM, summer only, call ahead first, reservations required

  • Caving Tour:  1:00 PM, summer weekends only, call ahead first, reservations required

Fees & Permits:  top

Park Fees
Access is free as well as access to all of the hiking and picnic facilities.  Campsites are $10 a night mid-May to late September, and reduced to $5 a night in late September until the campsites close in October.  Backcountry permits are required but are free.  Children 16 and 17 years old taking the Caving Tour require a signed release from their parent or guardian.

Cave Tour Fees

  • Garden of Eden Tour, under five free, six to sixteen $2.00, adults $4,00, Golden Age or Golden Access, $2.00

  • Natural Entrance Tour, under five free, six to sixteen $3.00, adults $6,00, Golden Age or Golden Access, $3.00

  • Fairgrounds Tour, under five free, six to sixteen $3,00, adults $6,00, Golden Age or Golden Access, $3.00

  • Candlelight Tour:  under eight is not permitted, eight to sixteen $3.50, adults $7.00, Golden Age or Golden Access, $3.50

  • Caving Tour, under 16 is not permitted, 16 to 18 requires written parental permission, 16 and over, $18.00, Golden Age or Golden Access, $9.00

Climate:  top
Above Ground

  Cool, and wet.  Temperatures ranging from the 30'ies to the 80'ies by June
Summer:  Warm with afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  Temperatures in the 70'ies to 90'ies, occasionally can reach over 100 on the prairie
Fall:  Cool and dry.  Temperature ranging from the 70'ies in September falling to below zero in  December
Winter:  Cold,  snow happens often, prairie section can have severe windchills and the potential for ground blizzards.
Below Ground
Year round 53 degrees F. with 98% humidity

What To See:  top
Wind Cave is the fifth longest cave in the United States, and eight longest in the world.  Five different cave tours ranging from easy to very difficult ranging from $4 to $18.  Over 30 miles of hiking trails, camping, and views of both the prairie and ponderosa forests of the Black Hills.  Excellent opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, close to other Black Hills attractions.

Activities:  top
A variety of ranger led activities are available during the summer months.  You should call ahead for more information and a current schedule of events.  Morning hikes, interpretive hikes of the prairie, and fireside programs are all performed at Wind Cave National Park.

Children's Activities:  top
Wind Cave National Park has a Junior Rangers Program for children ages 4 to 14.  Teaches children about the park, cave, nature and the environment.  Enrollment is free and children completing this self study program earn a certificate and a patch.  Some parks charge a nominal fee for the patch to offset the costs.  You can contact the park directly for more information on this educational and fun program.

Hiking:  top

  • Cold Brook Canyon Trail, 1-4/10 miles, moderate

  • Wind Cave Canyon Trail, 1-8/10 miles, easy

  • Bison Flats Trail, 3-7/10 miles, moderate

  • Lookout Point Trail, 1-9/10 miles, moderate

  • Sanctuary Trail, 3-6/10 miles, moderate

  • Centennial Trail access, 6 miles through the park, moderate

  • Highland Creek Trail, 8-610 miles, moderate-strenuous

  • Boland Ridge Trail, 2-7/10 miles, strenuous

  • Elk Mountain Nature Trail, 1-1/4 miles, easy

  • Rankin Ridge Nature Trail,  1 miles, easy

Mountain Biking:  top

  • Prohibited on hiking trails but allowed on any roads, including fire access roads

Equestrian:  top

  • Prohibited

Paddling:  top

  • None available

Cave Exploration:  top

  • Cave exploration is possible.  You should contact the park management directly.

Improved Camp Sites:  top

  • Elk Mountain Campground, 75 sites, first come first serve basis.  No hookups, dump station or showers.  Bathrooms with handicapped access and potable water, fires allowed only in provided fire grates and you should use provided firewood

Backcountry Primitive Camping:  top

  • Allowed only in the northwestern section of the park.  Backcountry permit can be obtained at the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center, or either of the Centennial Trailheads, no open fires, natural water sources are available but require filtering, no campsites within 1/4 mile of roads or 100 feet of trails

Improved Shelters, Cabins:  top

  • None

Lodges or Motel Type Facilities:  top

  • None

Transportation:  top
Private vehicle and commercial tours only -- no public transportation

Major Airline Access:  top

  • Rapid City, South Dakota, 45 miles north

Accommodations:  top

  • Hot Springs, South Dakota, 7 miles north US highway 385

  • Custer, South Dakota, 20 miles west US highway 385

Food, Fuel, Shopping:  top

  • Hot Springs, South Dakota, food, fuel and shopping

  • Custer, South Dakota, many options for food, fuel and shopping, excellent jumping off point for all of the Black Hills attractions

Related Websites:  top

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