Getting Around in the Park

Pigtail Bridge on highway 87
Pigtail bridge on SD Highway 87


Highways & Paved Roads

Most visits to Wind Cave National Park take you on US Hwy 385 or South Dakota Hwy 87, the two main paved roads in the park. Both offer scenic views as well as many pullouts for enjoying the scenery or watching wildlife.

The Visitor Center, where all cave tours begin, is located 1/2 mile off of US Hwy. 385.

NPS 5 gravel road meandering through the prairie and ponderosa pine
The Red Valley along the NPS 5 backcountry road.


Backcountry Roads

Gravel roads NPS 5 and NPS 6 explore the less-developed northern and eastern areas of the park. These backcountry roads are generally well-maintained and suitable for most passenger cars and trucks. Please note:

  • NPS 5 & 6 are more narrow than paved roads. Slow down and move over when traffic approaches.
  • Backcountry roads can become muddy or impassable during rainy or snowy weather. Use good judgment and stick to paved roads when driving conditions are poor.
  • Expect wildlife on the roads. Slow down and enjoy the view.
  • Signage is poor on backcountry roads and cell service may be non-existant. Check your fuel level and take a map before heading out.
A cyclist riding on the highway
Bicycling at Wind Cave.

NPS photo by Jim Pisarowicz


Bicycling is limited to established park roads, including both paved and gravel roads. Bikes are not permitted on trails or cross-country.

US Hwy 385 has wide shoulders. SD Hwy 87 is winding and narrow with little room for bicyclists. Consider biking in the morning hours or shoulder seasons when car traffic is lighter.

Wildlife roam freely throughout the park. Bison, which weigh up to a ton and are able to run 35 miles per hour, can be particularly dangerous. Respect them and all wild animals by giving them plenty of space.

Last updated: December 22, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

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