Wind Cave National Park
 
 

For centuries, Native Americans have known about the natural entrance to Wind Cave and the wind that comes in and out of the opening. In 1881 Jesse and Tom Bingham were also attracted to the cave by the whistling noise of the air coming out of the cave. As the story goes, wind was blowing out of the cave entrance with such force that it blew off Tom's hat.  The first person reported to have entered the cave was Charlie Crary in the fall of 1881.  By 1903, Wind Cave National Park was established by Theodore Roosevelt.  In fact, Wind Cave National Park was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to become a designated national park anywhere in the world. 

 

Currently, Wind Cave National Park is the sixth-longest cave in the world with 140.47 miles of explored passages.  Wind Cave gets its name from the “breathing” that Native Americans and early settlers observed from the cave’s natural opening.  The “breathing” is actually the cave’s way of maintaining equal air pressure with the outside air pressure.  Air continuously moves through the cave, which gives the impression that the cave is breathing. 

 

Above ground, you’ll find the largest mixed-grass prairie in the United States, which is filled with its own unique ecosystem.  Wind Cave National Park protects many amazing western plant and animal species. The many animals you might see include: raccoons, elk (also called wapiti), bison, skunks, cougars, bobcats, red foxes, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, coyotes, badgers, and more.  The herd of bison at Wind Cave National Park is one of only four free-roaming and genetically pure herds on public lands in North America. The other three herds include the Yellowstone Park bison herd, the Henry Mountains Bison herd in Utah, and the Elk Island herd in Alberta, Canada. 

Garden of Eden Cave Tour

This 1-hour tour is our least strenuous tour. It is a wonderful sample of Wind Cave. Small amounts of all of the beautiful cave formations - boxwork, cave popcorn, and flowstone - are seen along this 1/3 mile tour. The tour is designed for people with limited time or abilities. It enters and leaves the cave by elevator with 150 steps along the tour route.


Natural Entrance Cave Tour

This tour includes a visit to the natural entrance of Wind Cave where visitors can see where the cave was discovered and learn how it got its name. Participants enter the cave through a man-made entrance and journey through the middle level of the cave. Wind Cave's famous boxwork is abundant throughout this trip. Most of the 300 stairs along this route are down. This moderately strenuous 2/3 mile tour lasts 1¼ hours and exits the cave by elevator.


Fairgrounds Cave Tour

This 1½ hour tour explores both the upper and middle levels of Wind Cave. Boxwork is abundant along the trail in the middle level of the cave. In the upper level, the trail winds through the larger rooms where popcorn and frostwork can be seen. This is our most strenuous walking tour. The tour enters and exits the cave by elevator and there are 450 stairs along the 2/3 mile route with one flight of 89 steps going up.


Candlelight Cave Tour

Experience the cave by candlelight! See the way the earliest explorers of Wind Cave saw the cave by candlelight. This tour takes place in a less developed, unlighted section of the cave. Each participant will carry a candle bucket. The tour is limited to 10 people and the minimum age is 8.

This tour is only available during the summer months.


Wild Cave Tour

Explore the cave away from the developed trails.

Tour is only available during the summer months.

View Tour Schedule

Features

  • On this 4 hour tour visitors will be introduced to basic, safe caving.
  • Wear old clothes and gloves, as much of the trip will be crawling.
  • Long pants, long sleeved shirts and sturdy, lace up boots or shoes with non-slip soles are required. Five-fingered shoes and sandals of any kind are not allowed.
  • Clothing worn on the Jewel Cave Wild Cave Tour are not permitted in Wind Cave.
  • The park provides hard hats, lights and kneepads.
  • This tour is limited to 10 people and the minimum age is 16.
  • We require a signed consent form for those 17 and under. (Release Form)
  • Please do not bring jewelry, watches and other valuables on the tour.
  • Reservations are required. We begin taking reservations one month before the tour.
  • Reservations may only be made by telephone - (605) 745-4600.

Wild Cave Tour

Fees*

Age 16-61

$30.00

Senior or Golden Age/Access Passholders*

$15.00

Under 16

Not Allowed

*Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees.

Garden of Eden Cave Tour

Fees*

Age 17-61

$10.00

Age 6-16

$5.00

Senior, Golden Age or Access Passes

$5.00

Under 6 (all children must have a ticket)

Free

*Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees.

Natural Entrance Cave Tour

Fees*

Age 17-61

$12.00

Age 6-16

$6.00

Senior, Golden Age or Access*

$6.00

Under 6 (all children must have a ticket)

Free

*Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees.

Fairgrounds Cave Tour

Fees*

Age 17-61

$12.00

Age 6-16

$6.00

Senior, Golden Age or Access Passes

$6.00

Under 6 (all children must have a ticket)

Free

*Interagency Annual Park Passes are not applicable for these fees.

Fees*

Age 17-61

$12.00

Age 8-16

$6.00

Senior or Golden Age/Access Passholders*

$6.00

*Interagency Annual Park Pass is not applicable for these fees.



1-800-321-0692