What can we see at the park?
A visit to the park allows for an exploration of America's Cold War nuclear deterrent. We suggest that you start a visit at the Visitor Center. Ranger-guided tours of Launch Control Facility Delta-01 and the underground Launch Control Center are conducted throughout the year. Fifteen miles west of the visitor center is the Delta-09 missile silo, where visitors can see a Minuteman II missile in the silo.
When is the park open?
During most of the year, the visitor center is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. mountain time, daily. Tours of Delta-01 are conducted during normal business hours.
What is the cost to enter the park?
There is no entry fee at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Please note that because Minuteman Missile is a entrance fee-free park, we do not sell National Park passes. Passes can be purchased at Badlands National Park, four miles south of the Minuteman Missile Visitor Center.
Can I visit Delta-01 Launch Control Facility? What can I see at the site?
With the completion of modern visitor parking near the site, all visitors can visit Delta-01 during normal operating hours and walk to the front gate of the Delta-01 compound, and view features inside the fence. Entry inside the gate requires a reserved tour ticket for the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility Tour.
What is the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility Tour?
The forty-five minute tour begins and ends at the entry gate to the Delta-01 compound. The tour route proceeds with a walk through of the grounds and topside support building before descending in the original elevator 31 feet to enter the underground control center. All tour participants must be able to be physically capable of climbing two 15 foot ladders unassisted in the event of an elevator failure.
What is the cost for a tour of the Delta-01 Launch Control Center?
Prices effective January 1, 2019
How do I get a reservation for a Delta-01 tour?
All tours of the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility require advanced reservations and an amenity fee. Reservations can be made on-line or by phone at 866-601-5129. Reservations can be made up to 90 days prior to tour date. In the summer season tours often fill up to two months in advance, so we urge visitors to reserve tours as far in advance as possible.
Why are the tour sizes so small? Why not do more tours?
The elevator which takes visitors down to the underground Launch Control Center can only hold six visitors at a time. Due to safety regulations only six visitors are allowed into the elevator and underground facility at any one time. Historicially the air force ran the elevator less than a dozen times per day. Each tour utilizes the original 1962 elevator motor and lift car twice.
What else is there to see at the park if I do not have tour reservations for a Delta-01 Tour?
In addition to a stop at the visitor center, visitors can take a self-guided tour of Delta-09 missile silo. The silo is located on the south side of exit 116, Interstate 90. Check our Operating Hours and Seasons section for times when the site is open. There is an audio tour of the site which can be accessed using a cell phone. In the summer season especially, demand for tours at Delta-01 exceeds capacity. In addition to visiting the visitor center and Delta-09, a visit to Rapid City's South Dakota Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base offers a number of complimentary features that further explore the Minuteman Missile story. The museum's exhibits include a launch control simulator identical to the control center at Delta-01 and their airpark display includes a Minuteman II missile. During the summer season the base tour includes an opportunity to go inside a missile silo trainer preserved on base.
When can I purchase a same-day tour ticket?
Same-day tour tickets may be available in the off-season period (October to April) only. Same-day tickets will be available if there are unsold reservations; if available tours are fully reserved in advance, there will be no same day tickets available. Off-season, same day tour tickets shall be sold by the park’s Eastern National bookstore between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for unreserved tour tickets for tours offered that day only.
What can I see at the Delta-09 silo?
During regular operating hours acess is allowed inside the fence at the silo, where visitors can walk up to the glass enclosure over the open silo, and gaze down at a Minuteman II missile. A cell phone tour provides additional information about the features found at the silo.
Can visitors enter the silo at Delta-09?
The silo is smaller than you'd think; the launch tube containing the missile is only twelve feet in diameter. Because the silo is a narrow confined space, for safety reasons the public is not able to enter the interior of the silo.
Can I come into the park when it's closed?
No. For your safety visitation is only allowed during the posted operating hours.
Can I camp or park my vehicle at the park overnight?
No. All parking areas in the park close at the end of regular operating hours and are closed to overnight parking and camping.
Can I use a metal detector to hunt for relics?
No. Per 36 CFR 2.1(a)(7) it is prohibited and possession of a metal detector on park grounds is a felony.
Are firearms allowed at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site?
On February 22, 2010, new laws concerning firearms in National Parks were put in place. More information on firearms regulations....
Can I bring my pet?
Leashed pets are not allowed inside the Visitor Center or Launch Control Facility Delta-01 (except for service animals). more information....
How did this become a national park?
During the deactivation of Ellsworth Air Force Base's Minuteman II missile field the National Park Service and the Air Force recognized a unique opportunity for preservation of a Minuteman Launch Control Facility and missile silo. A special resource study team was commissioned, which included representatives from the National Park Service, US Air Force Museum, South Dakota Historical Society and the Ellsworth Heritage Foundation. After a comprehensive evaluation of the historic resources, it was decided that designation as a National Historic Site would be the best preservation option due to the National Park Service's mission "to protect and conserve" historic resources unimpaired for future generations. In 1999 legislation was passed by Congress which authorized Minuteman Missile National Historic Site as a unit of the National Park System.
Why isn't the visitor center closer to Delta-01 and Delta-09?
A special resource study reviewed the idea of preserving Minuteman Missile sites in the national park system in 1995. This study recommended that the Minuteman Missile facilities become a new national park system site. The 1995 study analyzed five locations for a visitor/administrative facility. The study drew no conclusion as to the appropriate location for a visitor/ administrative facility. The 1999 enabling legislation creating Minuteman Missile National Historic Site directed the team to evaluate two possible locations — exit 127
When is the best time to visit the park?
The park is open year-round, and busiest during the summer season. Tour reservations often fill two months or more in advance for the months of June, July, and August. Fall and spring are excellent times to tour the site. The weather is mild and demand for existing tour spaces is lower.
When did the park start giving tours of Delta-01?
Tours began in the late spring of 2004. Early tours were not allowed to enter the underground control center until a series of safety modifications and regulations were established. For four years tours were two hours long and car-pooled from site to site, including Delta-09.
What will we see at the Air and Space Museum and where is it located?
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum has exhibits and displays on the Minuteman system, including the actual Missile Procedures Trainer in which missileers trained for capsule duty. Tours are also given of a Minuteman training silo which maintenance crews used to learn proper procedures for maintaining the missile. The museum is located off Interstate 90 exit 67, 7 miles east of Rapid City.
How do we get to the Badlands?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Center located off Exit 131 (on the north side of Interstate 90) is only 4 miles from the Northeast entrance to Badlands National Park. Follow SD Highway 240 four miles south to the Badlands entrance.
How long does it take to get to Mount Rushmore?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Center is approximately 100 miles from Mt. Rushmore. Allow yourself 2 hours to reach Mt. Rushmore.
How far is it to Yellowstone National Park?
The Minuteman Missile Visitor Center is located 500 miles from the East Entrance to Yellowstone (via Cody, Wyoming). Allow yourself at least 8 to 10 hours to reach Yellowstone.
Last updated: July 16, 2020