Wind Cave National Park

Vacation Travel Guide

View unusual crystalline patterns underground and wildlife, pleasant prairies and forests above ground at this park created on land once inhabited by Lakota Indians.

The main attraction of Wind Cave National Park is the giant cavern stretching beneath the surface of South Dakota’s Black Hills. Early Lakota Indian inhabitants noticed wind coming from a small hole in the ground. Area explorers were amazed as they discovered mile after mile of connected underground passages, grottos and waterways. Visit the park’s cave, now equipped with a revolving door entrance and handrails in some sections.

More than 140 miles (220 kilometers) of underground passages at three levels have now been charted, with unexplored area remaining. See the boxwork crystalline calcium deposits in honey-comb shapes and branching helictite bushes up to 6 feet (3 meters) tall.

The park offers interesting scenery and wildlife even if you don’t enter the cave. Hike along the 30 miles (48 kilometers) of trails. Try all three 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) nature trail loops with interpretive stops to learn as you walk.

Trails with greater challenges take you through the dominant mixed-grass prairie of the park to areas of pine and creekside habitats. Follow the 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) Wind Cave Canyon Trail to see many of the parks birds, including cliff swallows, great horned owls and several types of woodpecker.

If you’re driving, stop at designated viewing points to see elk and bison roaming freely and blacktail prairie dogs poking their heads out of their underground towns. Bring your leashed pet to some of the nature trails and campground, but not in the cave or backcountry areas.

Hiking and driving through the park are free. Check the website for information on tours regarding seasonal availability, fees, discounts and hours. Some tours recommend reservations while others are first-come/first-served. In general, arrive early in the day to avoid crowds. Call ahead for an accessible cave tour. Prepare for cool temperatures underground.

While in South Dakota, visit Mount Rushmore National Monument, the Badlands and other preserved public areas. U.S. national parks offer affordable access to adventures in some of the country’s most scenic areas. Enjoy your visit to the caves and prairies of Wind Cave National Park.

Top Hotels Close to Wind Cave National Park

Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Custer, SD
This family-friendly Custer cabin is located in the mountains, 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Wind Cave National Park, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Custer State Park and ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (112 reviews)
Beautiful stay!
"We have stayed with Jody for many years at multiple properties. She does a great job and is easy to work with. This property was great for our group. We enjoyed this cabin and will be staying with Jody again!"

Reviewed on Nov 21, 2021

Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Hot Springs, SD
This family-friendly Hot Springs cabin is located in a rural location, 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Wind Cave National Park, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Evans Plunge ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (78 reviews)
Another Amazing Visit
"This was our second time staying at this wonderful home while visiting family in Hot Springs. Everything is very clean and there is plenty of room for 6 of us adults. Using the hot tub under the stars is highly recommended and the view from the deck is amazing. I'm pretty sure we'll be back for a ..."

Reviewed on Nov 22, 2021

Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Hot Springs, SD
This family-friendly Hot Springs cabin is located in a rural location, 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Wind Cave National Park, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Evans Plunge ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (112 reviews)
Great get away
"Great couples get away, enjoyed the location, not far from town with a very scenic view."

Reviewed on Oct 26, 2021

Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Plan a trip to see Wind Cave National Park

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Best Lodging Options Near Wind Cave National Park

Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Custer, SD
Beaver Creek Lodge - Hand-Hewn Log Home on 21 Secluded Acres
Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Hot Springs, SD
Wind Cave Cabin ~ Just Wonderful
Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Hot Springs, SD
Cabin - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Western Blue Skies
Western Blue Skies
Hot Springs, SD
Western Blue Skies
House - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
House - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Hot Springs, SD
House - Southern Hills Serene Getaway
Unplug and Recharge -Private Black Hills Log Cabin Retreat
Unplug and Recharge -Private Black Hills Log Cabin Retreat
Custer, SD
Unplug and Recharge -Private Black Hills Log Cabin Retreat
Ridge View Cabin
Ridge View Cabin
3.5 out of 5
13006 Ridgeview Springs Road, Hot Springs, SD
Ridge View Cabin
Trappers Cabin
Trappers Cabin
3.5 out of 5
12974 Windmill Road, Hot Springs, SD
Trappers Cabin
Trail Boss Cabin
Trail Boss Cabin
3.5 out of 5
12978 Windmill Rd, Hot Springs, SD
Trail Boss Cabin
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.