Wind Cave National Park

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Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park (Paul E. Tessier/Photodisc/Getty)

Wind Cave National Park is in the Black Hills—rugged mountains surrounded by prairie—where an observer once noted, the "lover of nature could... find his soul's delight." There is much you can see on your way to and from the park.

Several scenic roadways lead through the Black Hills to Wind Cave. Roadside sightseers may particularly enjoy the Wildlife Loop Road, Iron Mountain Road, and Needles Highway, which wind through pine-spruce forests, meadows, mountains, pinnacles of granite, and lands populated by bison, pronghorn deer, and prairie dogs. Ask about these and other travel routes. Warning: Tunnels on the Iron Mountain Road (U.S. 16A) are 12' 6" high and 13' 6" wide. Tunnels on the Needles Highway/Sylvan Lake Road (SD 87) are as low as 10' 8" and as narrow as 8' 7".

While traveling in Wind Cave Country, you may want to visit places of natural, historical, or scenic interest nearby. Custer State Park and Black Hills National Forest, adjacent to Wind Cave, offer many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Within 50 miles of Wind Cave are two other National Park System areas. Jewel Cave National Monument preserves a 90-mile-long cavern decorated with sparkling jewel-like calcite crystals and a variety of cave formations. Cave tours are given. At Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you'll find the monumental sculpture of four American presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

As you travel in the area, you will pass many communities, including Custer, Hot Springs, and Rapid City, as well as some smaller towns and Custer State Park, which provide lodging, groceries and camping supplies, gasoline stations, and other services seasonally or yearly. Private campgrounds are also available in the area. Lodging facilities and grocery services are not available in the National Park.

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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