Wind Cave National Park

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Contact Information
Wind Cave National Park
RR 1, Box 190
Hot Springs, SD 57747-9430
Phone: 605-745-4600
Web site:

Plane: Nearest commercial airport is in Rapid City, SD.
Car: Visitors traveling on I-90: At Rapid City, SD, exit onto U.S. Route 79 south. Follow Route 79 south approximately 50 miles to U.S. Route 18. Turn right onto U.S. Route 385 North, which will take you through Hot Springs and into Wind Cave National Park. Follow signs to the visitor center for cave tours and general park information. Visitors can also reach the park by following U.S. Route 16 west out of Rapid City onto U.S. Route 385 south. Visitors traveling from Nebraska can follow U.S. Route 385 north to the park.

No public transportation serves the park.

Park Roads
Sightseeing along park roads allows you to enjoy views of the Black Hills along with bison, pronghorn, and other wildlife. Bicycling is permitted on park roadways only. Backcountry biking is prohibited.

Visitor Center
The visitor center has books, brochures, exhibits, and slide programs about the cave and other park resources. Cave tour information and tickets are available and schedules of activities such as talks and nature walks are posted. In the summer food and gifts are sold. The center is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Camping and Picnic Areas
Elk Mountain Campground, in rolling hills of ponderosa pine forests and prairie, has 96 sites for tents and recreational vehicles. The campground is open from May through September on a first-come, first-served basis. Picnic tables, fire grills, water, and restrooms are provided. Fees are charged. Campfire programs are given in the summer at the amphitheater. Backcountry camping is allowed; a permit is required. The picnic area, located in a ponderosa pine woodland, has tables and water during the summer season.

Two nature trails help you explore the grasslands and ponderosa pine forests of the park. Trail booklets are available at the visitor center or trailheads. Rankin Ridge Trail (1-1/4 miles) climbs to the top of Rankin Ridge, the highest point in the park, for panoramic views of Black Hills country. A ridgetop fire lookout is usually open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Elk Mountain Trail (one mile) is a mildly strenuous walk that circles the campground. Hikers may travel cross-country or explore 30 miles of hiking trails including the southern terminus of the 110-mile Centennial Trail.

Safety and Regulations
Obtain the latest park regulations and safety guidelines from the visitor center.

Towns Nearby
Custer, Hot Springs, and Rapid City.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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