South Dakota: Wind Cave National Park

An expansive underground cave network and spectacular grassland vistas

Location: Hours: Fees:
26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747
The park is open all day, every day.

The Visitor Center’s hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM with extended hours in the spring, summer, and fall.

Park entrances is free.

Ranger tours of the cave’s start at $10 for adults and $5 for children. See website for more info.

Regarded as sacred by American Indians, exploration of the area known a Wind Cave did not begin until 1881, when the entrance was noticed by two brothers, Jesse and Tom Bingham. They heard a loud whistling noise, which led them to a small hole in the ground, the cave’s only natural opening.

Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903, becoming the country’s eighth National Park. Located in the southwestern corner of South Dakota, it is known for it’s vast, underground Wind Cave, with chambers like the Post Office and the Elks Room. Many of the cave’s walls are rich in honeycomb-shaped calcite formations known as boxwork. There are regular Ranger led tours, with different options available for people of different abilities. Only a relatively small part of the cave system are explored on the Ranger walks. For the more experienced cavers, there is much, much more that can be accessed.

Beyond the cave system are expansive prairie lands and pine forests that are home to bison, elk and pronghorn antelopes. To explore this wonderful parkland there are a plethora of trails that include Rankin Ridge, with spectacular views of the Black Hills.

If you are travelling in South Dakota in the region of the Black Hills you really need to set some time aside to explore this amazing National Park.

 

 

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