4 Best Day Hikes in Wind Cave National Park

Overview

Below you will find the 4 best day hikes in Wind Cave National Park! Located in South Dakota, Wind Cave is the 4th longest cave in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere. Similar to Mammoth Cave National Park, hiking is one of the most underutilized attractions of Wind Cave National Park. Official Website.

StateSouth Dakota
Nearest Metro AreaRapid City, SD
Area Size28,295 acres
EstablishedJanuary 9, 1903
Hiking Trails30 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Wind Cave National Park

1. Lookout Point Trail

Traveling clockwise, the first 1.5 miles is shared with Centennial Trail. There is a lot of variety on this loop, from hills to stretching prairies; and a good chance of seeing bison roaming around. The trailhead is located at the same parking area as Centennial Trail off of the east side of SD-87.

  • 4.5 miles – Loop
  • 400′ gain
  • Moderate

2. Rankin Ridge Nature Trail

Self-guided trail with 14 interactive stops along the way. At the top of the ridge, hikers can climb the Lookout Tower Overlook to see extraordinary views at the highest point in the park. The trailhead is located at a parking area off of SD-87 near the North Entrance.

  • 1.0 miles – Loop
  • 250′ gain
  • Easy

3. Centennial Trail

This is a small sampling of the 111 mile Centennial trail that extends north to Bear Butte. The trail crosses prairies, ponderosa forests, and winds along Beaver Creek. The trailhead is located at a parking area east of SD-87 and can be combined with Lookout Point Trail for a more enjoyable experience.

  • 12.0 miles – Out and back
  • 550′ gain
  • Moderate

4. Boland Ridge Trail

One of the best trails in the park for those hoping to see some wildlife. Elk are very popular in this area. The trailhead is located on the eastern side of the park off of Red Valley Road.

  • 5.2 miles – Out and back
  • 600′ gain
  • Moderate

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