• 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.

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Boxwork in Elks Room

Boxwork in the Elks Room
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NPS Photo by Tom Bean

Wind Cave National Park protects one of the longest, most complex maze-cave systems in the world and contains an amazing amount of the rare cave formation called boxwork. It is a great place to learn about the unique geology of the cave and to hear about the adventures of cave explorers as they actively search for more cave. However, if you only learn about the park through the cave, then you have missed half of what makes this park so special.

Surrounded by a Sea of Grass

Imagine yourself surrounded by a sea of grass softly illuminated by gold-tinged afternoon sunlight. A gentle breeze brings the sweet vanilla scent of the ponderosa pine. In the distance, a heard of bison silently graze while a nearby meadowlark whistles a pleasant song.

As your eyes scan the prairie, you discover not only its signature grasses, but a wide variety of delicate wildflowers. Creamy-white sego lilies, purple coneflowers, and golden-yellow sunflowers add intermittent splashes of color to the carpet of green and brown grasses. Here you can also see the native animals, such as bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes and prairie dogs, who make this place their home.

Wind Cave - Two Worlds

Wind Cave National Park protects two very different worlds - one deep within the earth, the other a sunlit world of many resources.

Did You Know?

fire on the prairie

Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.