Imagine walking across a prairie and viewing scenery similar to that seen by Black Hills pioneers in the 1890s. Such landscapes can be seen from the 30 miles of hiking trails in Wind Cave National Park. From these trails you can view one of the best examples of mixed-grass prairie in the United States. Seventy percent of the park is mixed-grass prairie and the balance is ponderosa pine forest and riparian habitat.
Backcountry camping offers an opportunity to learn firsthand about the plants and the animals of the prairie and forest. The backcountry camping area is located in the northwest part of the park. All backcountry campers must obtain a free Backcountry Use Permit at the visitor center or at Centennial Trail access points. Information gained from backcountry permits help park rangers protect the resources while allowing for use of the backcounty of Wind Cave National Park.
There are 3 nature trails in the park. The Elk Mountain, Prairie Vista and Rankin Ridge nature trails are all loops and all are one mile in distance.
Did You Know?
Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.