Horseback Riding

a group of people on horses ride into the prairie
Wind Cave provides thousands of acres for horse owners to ride in the park.

NPS Photo / Abby Rimstidt


Wind Cave National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including horseback riding opportunities. Although there are no facilities in the park that provide horses, the park’s 28,295 acres of rolling prairie and ponderosa pine forest are ideal spots for horse owners to ride their own horses.

All horseback riders must obtain a free permit at the visitor center. These permits are used by park managers to monitor use.


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  • Horseback riding permits are for day use only; no overnight stays are permitted.
  • While most of the park is open to riding, horseback riding is prohibited in the following areas: near water sources, directly on any maintained hiking trail, on park roadways, and in the campground and picnic areas.
  • All hay and feed must be certified as weed free.
a group of people on horses ride into the prairie
The open prairies on the north and east sides of the park are well suited for riders.

NPS Photo / Abby Rimstidt

Protecting the Park

All natural and cultural resources within the park are protected by federal law. It is unlawful to remove any rocks, plants, artifacts, wildlife, antlers, or bones from the park. These features are a part of the natural and cultural history of the park.

While riding through the park, do not leave traces of your visit. Litter is unsightly and spoils the park experience for everybody.


Safety Information

  • All drinking water must be carried in. There are no approved drinking water sources in the backcountry.
  • Know your destination and the route you intend to take on your horseback ride. Bring along a topographical map and a compass.
  • Open fires are prohibited at all times due to the threat of wildfires.
  • Do not approach any wild animal! Stay at least 75-100 yards away from bison. They are unpredictable and dangerous and may charge without warning. Bison are more aggressive in July and August during the mating season.
  • Prairie rattlesnakes are common throughout the park, especially near rocky areas and prairie dog towns.
  • Ticks, mosquitoes, and deer flies are plentiful in the park.

Following these simple rules and safety measures will ensure your visit to Wind Cave National Park is an enjoyable one.

Please call the visitor center if you have any questions: (605) 745-4600

Last updated: July 16, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

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