• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Abstract - Graveyard Cave: A Holocene Faunal Record from the Black Hills of South Dakota

Manganaro, Carol A. 1994. Graveyard Cave: A Holocene Faunal Record from the Black Hills of South Dakota. MA Thesis. Northern Arizona University. 119 p.


Graveyard Cave is a natural trap located in Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Holocene fauna from Graveyard Cave is diverse, with over 28 recovered mammalian species as well as snails, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Graveyard Cave was excavated in the summer of 1992. A 1 m by 1 m test pit was dug in 10 cm arbitrary levels, down to 83 cm. Ninety-three gallon sized bags of sediment were removed from the cave and wet screened. These were picked for bone, charcoal, and mollusks. Faunal remains were identified using comparative collections and current literature.

Graveyard Cave is located on a pine-dense ridgetop in the Southern Hills. Most recovered taxa from Graveyard Cave are indicating that at the time of deposition of the faunal remains, the area immediately surrounding the cave was open grassland and not the dense forest which currently exists. The site may be an indicator of the closing in of the ponderosa pine forest into and within the Black Hills.

Did You Know?

A picture of Alvin McDonald in his caving hat.

Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...