Wind Cave National Park, SD
IF YOU GO
Entrance Fee: No entrance fee
Cave Tour Fees: Adults $10-$30, depending on tour
Children (6016): $5- $6
5 and under: free
Senior/ Access Pass: $5-$6
*accessibility tours also available and sign-language capable rangers are available for hearing impaired. Please contact park for more information.
Wind Cave National Park (Adobe stock image)
By Nushin Huq
Between 2 Pines Magazine
Wind Cave National Park is famous for one of longest and the most complex caves in the world. But its campground is delightful as well.
WHAT TO SEE
The main attraction at this national park are the cave tours. There are three tours for which there are no age restrictions. The minimum age for candlelight tour is eight-years-old and the minimum age for Wild Cave tour is 16. Most school-age kids can handle the Fairgrounds. Garden of Eden or Natural Entrance tour, but its best to talk with the ranger when purchasing tickets to decide which tour is best for you. Speaking of tickets, get there early to purchase your family's ticket for the day. Also, no backpack carriers allowed on the tours, so parents with toddlers should be ready to carry their child during the tour if necessary. NOTE: There are 1/2 hour accessible tours available as well. Please visit park website to get detailed information.
WHERE TO STAY
There isn't a hotel located inside the park, but there is a 61-site campground that is open year round. The sites, which include two accessible sites, are first come first serve. The campground is serene and sites are available both in forested and open areas.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no restaurants or shops that sell food at Wind Cave National park but the town of Hot Springs is only 15 minutes south of the park and has a number of places to eat.
BEST HIKES FOR KIDS
While not technically a hike, the guided tours are the number one activity at this park. Above ground, there are also some nice hikes as well. Wind Cave canyon, located by the visitor center is a 3.6 mile trail that is great for birdwatching. Cold Brook Canyon, located near the south entrance of the park, is a 2.8 mile trail that passes a prairie dog town.
BEST TIPS FOR KIDS
A cave tour is a fun activity for the whole family, but choosing the right one can be tricky. Backpack carriers are not allowed on the tours, So if that's an issue, you may decide to go with the natural cave tour. For most school age kids, any of the tours (except candle and wold cave) are okay to choose from. Sometimes, picking the tour depends more on which one is available at the right time for you. Also, there's no food available at the park you can't eat on the tours. If you didn't bring food with you, the town of Hot Springs is 15 minutes south of the park. You can buy your ticket in the morning and plan for lunch afterwards or make a reservation for an afternoon tour and grab something to eat before hand.