Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park is locate 10 miles north of the town of
Hot Springs in western South Dakota. The park was established in
1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt and was the seventh U.S.
National Park and the first cave to be designated a national
park anywhere in the world. The cave is notable for its displays
of the calcite formation known as boxwork. Approximately 95
percent of the world's discovered boxwork formations are found
in Wind Cave. Wind Cave is also known for its frostwork. The
cave is also considered a three-dimensional maze cave,
recognized as the densest cave system in the world. The cave
passed Hölloch cave in Switzerland on February 11, 2006 to
become fourth-longest in the world with 120 miles of explored
cave passageways. The cave's current length is 131 miles, with
an average of four new miles of cave being discovered each year.
Above ground, the park includes the largest remaining natural
mixed-grass prairie in the United States.
The park also has 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa
pine forest, and associated wildlife are the main features of
the park. The park's mixed-grass prairie is one of the few
remaining and is home to native wildlife such as bison, elk,
pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs.
Wind Cave Visitor Center
The Wind Cave Visitor Center features three exhibit rooms about
the geology of the caves and early cave history, the park's
wildlife and natural history, and the work of the Civilian
Conservation Corps in the park. The 18-minute movie "Wind Cave:
One Park, Two Worlds" is shown throughout the day, and slide and
video programs are also shown. The center is open year round
except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. All cave
tours leave from the visitor center.
Wind Cave Campground
Elk Mountain Campground is located about 1.25 miles from the
visitor center. It is open year round. Located in ponderosa pine
forest, there are 75 sites for tents and recreational vehicles.
Campfire programs are given in the summer. There are limited
services in the winter, but the campground is open.