"Boxwork" by NPS / Kim Acker , public domain

Wind Cave

National Park - South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park is in the southwestern corner of South Dakota. It's known for the 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. The park's prairie and pine forests are home to bison, elk and pronghorn antelopes. Trails include Rankin Ridge, with views of the Black Hills.

maps

Official visitor map of Wind Cave National Park (NP) in South Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Wind Cave - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Wind Cave National Park (NP) in South Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_Cave_National_Park Wind Cave National Park is in the southwestern corner of South Dakota. It's known for the 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. The park's prairie and pine forests are home to bison, elk and pronghorn antelopes. Trails include Rankin Ridge, with views of the Black Hills. Bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks. Below the remnant island of intact prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere. Wind Cave National Park is located in South Dakota about 11 miles north of Hot Springs, or about 22 miles south of Custer, on US Highway 385. The park Visitor Center, where all cave tours begin, is approximately 1/2 mile west of the highway. Wind Cave Visitor Center The visitor center is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days. All cave tours are ranger-led and leave from the visitor center. The Visitor Center is located 11 miles north of Hot Springs or 22 miles south of Custer off US Highway 385, about 1/2 mile west of the highway. Upon entering the park look for road signs to direct you to the visitor center. GPS units routinely lead drivers into the park's backcountry. Elk Mountain Campground This 62-site campground is open all year with sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Two sites are handicap-accessible. Flush toilets and drinking water are available late spring through early fall. Fees are half-price when water is not available. Ranger programs are offered nightly in the amphitheater during the summer. Two group campsites are able to be reserved. Contact the visitor center for more information: (605) 745-4600 Campsite Fee 18.00 RV or tent rate when water and flush toilets are available. Senior (Golden Age)/Access pass holders pay half price. Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees. Campsite Fee - Off-season 9.00 RV or tent rate when water is not available. Senior (Golden Age)/Access pass holders pay half price. Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees. Campground Sign a brown wood and stone sign reading "elk mountain campground" The Elk Mountain Campground is located just 1/2 mile from the visitor center. Elk Mountain Campsite A campsite is set up with a tent, picnic bench and metal fire ring. Each campsite comes with a picnic bench and a fire ring. Elk Mountain Campground tent and camper in campground The Elk Mountain Campground at Wind Cave National Park. Restroom Facilities The restroom facilities with sidewalk There is a restroom facility located in each camp loop. Elk Mountain Campground Registration Board The Elk Mountain Campground reservation board with information and a drop box for cash payments. The Elk Mountain Campground is a first-come, first-served site. Campers can register the campsite of their choice the day of their stay, and drop their cash payment in the drop box. Elk Mountain Campground Nature Trail The Elk Mountain Campground Nature Trail sign stands in front of the trail. The Elk Mountain Campground is a moderately strenuous, half mile hike through the campground. Leashed pets are welcome on this trail. Elk Mountain Water Spigot A water spigot at the side of the road. There is potable water access seasonally in the campground. Bison cow and calf a bison cow and calf on the prairie Several hundred bison roam the rolling prairie of Wind Cave National Park. Rankin Ridge view rolling hills of forest and prairie landscape Wind Cave National Park from Rankin Ridge, the park's highest point. Boxwork criss-cross-patterned calcite fins of the cave feature boxwork Delicate fins of boxwork, a rare cave feature, in Elk's Room, Wind Cave. Wind Cave explorer a caver with pads and helmet crawling in the cave Each summer, the Wild Cave Tour offers the chance to get up close and personal with Wind Cave. Prairie Dogs two prairie dogs watch from their burrow Prairie dog sightings are common throughout the park's prairies. Connecting with Our Homelands in 2019 Throughout the 2019 academic year, Hopa Mountain, in partnership with the National Park Service, awarded Connecting with our Homelands travel grants to 21 different indigenous organizations, schools, and nonprofits. These are glimpses into some of these trips. Students look at a forested landscape. 2019 Connecting with our Homelands Awardees Hopa Mountain, in partnership with the National Park Service, is pleased to announce the 2019 awardees of the Connecting with our Homelands travel grants. Twenty-one Indigenous organizations, schools, and nonprofits have been awarded travel funds for trips to national park units across 12 states/territories within the United States. An elder and young student talk while sitting on a rock. Bat Projects in Parks: Wind Cave National Park Explore bat projects in Wind Cave National Park. A dark haired bat gently held by a gloved hand Plant Community Monitoring at Wind Cave National Park Wind Cave National Park is well known for the amazing and unusual geology of its complex cave system underground, but the park also protects 33,851 acres of ponderosa pine forest and mixed-grass prairie above ground. We started monitoring plant communities here in 2011 because healthy plant communities support healthy ecosystems. Plant monitoring data also help us to detect long-term trends in this very diverse park. Single daisy like flower with purple petals and red dome-like center PARKS...IN...SPAAAACE!!! NASA astronauts have quite literally an out-of-this-world view of national parks and take some pretty stellar pictures to share. Travel along with the space station on its journey west to east getting the extreme bird’s eye view of national parks across the country. And one more down-to-earth. View of Denali National Park & Preserve from space Park Air Profiles - Wind Cave National Park Air quality profile for Wind Cave National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Wind Cave NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Wind Cave NP. Cave formations - the Skyway Lake Flowstone Bat Acoustic Monitoring at Wind Cave National Park The Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network monitors bats at Wind Cave National Park using acoustic recorders to detect trends in bat populations. Very few bats actually use Wind Cave for roosting, but the park hosts a diversity of bat species. Long-term monitoring is critical to understanding the bat communities that live here, and to help protect their habitat. a bat with big ears looks straight at us as it clings to the side of a cave National Park Getaway: Wind Cave National Park Explore your dual personality by visiting two parks in one! Bison and boxwork define Wind Cave National Park and highlight the distinctive worlds that comprise one of the country’s oldest national parks. We hope you come for a visit, because Wind Cave is a park you can really get into, literally! Ranger leading a tour through a cave Bison Bellows: Wind Cave National Park - Riding the Rails Back Home The Wind Cave National Park bison herd has returned from being in serious decline to serving as the foundation for future bison conservation. Find out how. A bison by the Wind Cave National Park entrance sign Wind Cave National Park, Nebraska National Forest Join to Teach Firefighters Ignition Operations Course In May 2014, students of wildland fire and fire management from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Nebraska Forest Service, South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pheasants Forever, and private contractors learned key principles of firing operations in the wildland and prescribed fire environments at a cooperative presentation of the S-234, Ignition Operations course, at the Nebraska Wildland Fire Academy in Ft. Robinson, Nebraska. Cave Exploration in the National Parks Most Americans may not realize that their National Park caves lie at the forefront of on-going cave exploration. Some of the longest caves on Earth are managed and protected by the NPS. And all of these caves contain unexplored passages and rooms that cavers seek to find and document. These giant cave systems are the site of on-going work by cavers to explore, map, photograph and inventory the extent of National Park caves. delicate thin mineral formations in a cave Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Bison Conservation Initiative The 2008 BCI has been a touchstone for DOI bureaus for 12 years. The commitments made there have now resulted in meaningful technical products and organizational improvements that continue to advance the conservation of American bison. The Bison Working Group, established as a mechanism for implementing the 2008 BCI, quickly became a productive model of interagency collaboration. Federal professionals working in support of bison conservation note that today we enjoy an ... Bison Conservation Initiative Northern Great Plains Annual Brome Adaptive Management Project Management and restoration of high quality, mixed-grass prairie to the NPS units has proved difficult and complex. The Annual Brome Adaptive Management project (ABAM) is attacking this problem through a cooperative effort. A firefighter uses a driptorch to ignite dried grasses while dark smoke billows behind. New “Flameless” Candles for Candlelight Tour Since the 1970s, a Candlelight tour offered twice a day during summer months have dripped hard-to-remove wax all along the tour route. A “flameless” candle with rechargeable battery has replaced the wax candle with little difference in created light along the tour. flameless candle in metal reflector bucket Exploring the Fire and Archeology Interface The Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC) worked with Midwest Region Fire Program to design and carry out experiments to collect information about the effects of fire on various classes of archeological materials. The goals of this project were to assess the fire/archeology interface to provide managers of Midwestern parks with information that will aid in decision-making concerning the stewardship of archeological and natural resources. Population Viability Study This study confirms that management of DOI bison herds in isolation promotes the loss of genetic diversity within all herds. More importantly, this study demonstrates that increased herd size and targeted removal strategies can reduce rates of diversity loss, and that adopting a Departmental metapopulation strategy through facilitated periodic movement of modest numbers of bison among DOI herds (i.e., restoring effective gene flow) can substantially reduce the... Bison Population Viability Study Following Water Movement Using Dye Tracing Several water movement studies have been performed at Wind Cave. Learn about how both underground and surface water impact each other and how we can use these studies to learn about how pollution can affect different parts of the park. a caver on the edge of an underground lake that is dyed bright green Extremophiles of the Madison Aquifer Deep below the surface of the park, Wind Cave contains several underground lakes. Wind Cave's lakes are home to some of the cleanest water in the world but contain a surprising array of microbial lifeforms including many that are unique to the cave. a caver silhouetted on the edge of a clear, blue underground lake Genetic Diversity of Wind Cave's Bison Herd Bison were reintroduced to Wind Cave in 1913. The park continues to maintain a herd of several hundred animals and is considered one of the most diverse and genetically pure herds of bison in the world. a bison lying down in a snowy field with other bison in the background The Future of Fires in Wind Cave Fire has been an important management tool for thousands of years. The prairies and ponderosa forests of the Black Hills are fire dependent ecosystems that must be maintained by the controlled use of fire. two wildland firefighters with flappers monitoring a grass fire in the prairie Wind Cave Felines Bobcats and mountain lions are efficient predators but rarely seen in Wind Cave. Wind Cave Birds The meeting place of Great Plains prairie and Black Hills forest, Wind Cave National Park attracts over 200 species of birds. Learn more about some of the birds that call this amazing place home. black woodpecker with white undersides and a yellow patch on its forehead perched on a tree trunk Masked Bandits: Black-footed Ferrets in Wind Cave The black-footed ferret is one of Wind Cave's success stories. Reintroduced in 2007, these small mammals were though to be extinct until a small population was discovered in Wyoming in 1981. The park continues to maintain a small, active population. a ferret with a black mask and legs looking back from a mound of dirt Reptiles and Amphibians of Wind Cave Several reptiles and amphibians are found at Wind Cave. These cold-blooded creatures are active... a salamander with yellow and black blotches at night Series: Inside Earth – NPS Cave & Karst News – Summer 2017 This newsletter is produced as a forum for information and idea exchanges between National Park Service units that contain caves and karst landscapes. It also provides a historical overview and keeps partners and other interested folks aware of cave and karst management activities. 4 rangers walk through shoe cleaning station Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: Wildlife in the Badlands Ever wonder what kind of wildlife could survive the harsh climate of the Badlands? Two small, grey young lambs walk down brown badlands slope. Series: Research in Badlands National Park Scientists often look to the Badlands as a research subject. Many studies have been conducted in the park on a variety of topics, including paleontology, geology, biology, and archaeology. Learn more about these research topics in this article series. two researchers converse over a sheet of paper while a woman to their right uses a microscope. Series: Prairie Ecology of the Badlands Badlands National Park is home to the nation's largest expanse of mixed-grass prairie. Here, plant species from both short-grass and tall-grass prairies mingle to create a unique home, well suited to many animals which call the park home. roots of tall yellow grasses penetrate into light brown soil beneath a cloudy blue sky. Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Plant Community Monitoring in Northern Great Plains Network Parks Plant communities are essential components of all major ecosystems. Plants are the ultimate source of food for other organisms and the main source of organic material in soil and water. They also influence climate and provide the scenery that park visitors enjoy. The NPS Northern Great Plains Network monitors the number, identity, and relative abundance of plant species, as well as their horizontal cover and vertical structure, to determine the health of park ecosystems. Two people sitting on the ground looking at plants Series: Cave Week—Featured Articles More than 20 parks across the US are participating in Cave Week via social media posts, cave tours, exhibits, school events, web pages and much more. The theme for Cave Week 2020 is, “Why do we go into caves?” This articles shares a few stories about why people (and bats) enter caves. person standing by underground lake in a cave Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development] boxwork cave features inside wind cave Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Two for the Price of One Companion, assistant, confidant, ambassador, host, nurse, cook, secretary, editor, field technician, wildlife wrangler, diplomat, and social director are some of the many roles that people who marry into the NPS perform in support of their spouses and the NPS mission. Although the wives and daughters of park rangers were some of the earliest women rangers in the NPS, many more women served as “park wives” in the 1920s–1940s. Three members of a family Blanket Cave National Youth Park—Activity Enjoy a fun activity and learn about caves even when you can't get out to a park. In this activity you will build your own cave and learn how to make it like a "real" natural cave. Find out about cave formations and wildlife, and how to be safe and care for caves. New "Blanket Cave National Youth Parks" are springing up all across America! Join the fun! cartoon drawing of a childs and a park ranger exploring a cave
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visitor Guide Annual 2017 Wind Cave Top 5 Wind Cave Activities Welcome to Wind Cave National Park, a place that encompasses one of the last mixed-grass prairies in the country and one of the most complex maze caves in the world. With the unique mixture of above and below ground wonders, varied wildlife and cave formations, rolling prairie and soaring landscapes, there is something for everyone. Now get out and explore the park with these helpful hints! Tour the Cave Head underground to explore the park’s namesake. Discover unique formations, including cave popcorn, frostwork and boxwork, a formation rarely found in other caves. Wind Cave is accessible only by ranger-guided tour, and tickets for tours are sold on a first-come, firstserve basis the day of the tour at the visitor center. Tours often fill up early so expect a wait during the busy summer months. More tour information is available on page 4. Park Hours 24 hours/day, every day Visitor Center & Cave Hours See page 4 Become a Junior Ranger View Wildlife Kids and adults alike can learn more about the park through our Junior Ranger program. Pick up the free booklet in the visitor center bookstore and discover how the cave was formed, how to identify animal tracks and how to help protect the park, among many other activities. Complete the booklet and turn it in to a ranger at the visitor center to earn a Junior Ranger badge! Many animals call Wind Cave National Park home. Herds of bison, elk and pronghorn roam the prairie in search of fresh grass. Prairie dog towns are the hub of life, where prairie dogs scurry about and also attract wildlife. Coyotes often wander through the towns looking for their next meal, burrowing owls take up residence in abandoned burrows and black-footed ferrets sneak around at night hoping for a midnight snack. A prairie dog town can be viewed at the intersection of Highways 385 and 87. Other pullouts found along these two highways provide a safe place to view wildlife. Remember, you are visiting their home, so please do not approach or feed wildlife. Hit the Trail Take a Scenic Drive Although best known for the cave, the park features more than 30 miles of scenic trails. Wander through sweeping prairie grasslands and ponderosa forests, keeping a keen eye out for wildlife. Hike the short 1-mile trail to the Rankin Ridge fire tower, the highest point in the park, for a panorama of the Black Hills. For a more challenging hike try the Boland Ridge Trail on the east side of the park. Leashed dogs are only allowed on the Elk Mountain and Prairie Vista Nature trails. Please remember to pick up after your dog. More information on trails is available on page 8. While Highway 385 provides endless views of prairie and rolling hills, Highway 87 takes you into the trees for a chance to see another side of the park. The road winds north away from the visitor center, passing over bridges and by the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. Explore the park off the beaten path by continuing your drive onto gravel roads NPS 5 and 6. Wonderful sunsets, wildlife and wide open night skies await. Several trailheads can also be found along these roads, including Boland Ridge and Highland Creek. If you are looking to explore more of the Black Hills, NPS 6 takes you directly into Custer State Park. Table of Contents Emergencies Dial 911 Planning Your Visit .........................2 Learning More About the Park ......6 Wind Cave Seasons ........................3 National Park Neighbors ................7 Cave Tour Information ...................4 Hiking Trails & Map ........................8 Park Info 605.745.4600 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Planning Your Visit Horseback Riding Visitor Center The visitor center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, with extended hours during the summer. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Welcome to Wind Cave National Park! This national park is one of the oldest in the country. Established in 1903, it was the eighth national park created and the first set aside to protect a cave. While Wind Cave is the major attraction with its unique boxwork and significant underground cave passageways, the surface resources, including both natural and cultural resources, are also worth the stop. The buildings around the visitor center date back to the 1930's Civilian Conservation Corps. The wildlife such as bison, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets are also exciting to view. Today, visitors from around the world come to see these two parks in one. Our hope is that you have a safe and enjoyable visit to Wind Cave National Park, take plenty of pictures, participate in our programs, and leave nothing but footprints. Travel Safe, Vidal Dávila Superintendent Wind Cave National Park Located in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park

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