4 Best Hikes in Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park Overview

Below you will find the 4 best 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.

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

HEY YOU, reading this page! Help me, help you – we make a small commission every time an item or piece of gear is purchased after clicking on the links on our GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS page. If you are in need of some new BOOTS, a new TENT or SLEEPING BAG, TREK POLES, etc. please consider buying after clicking on one of the links on our site! At no additional cost to you, it helps us keep posting more great hiking recommendations for our readers! Happy Hiking!

Click here for more National Park or National Forest hikes!
You can also view some of our most popular Gear Recommendations here!

Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Wind Cave National Park

Lookout Point Trail
Wind Cave Bison Herd
Wind Cave Bison Herd, Photo by Wayne Hsieh

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 mile loop
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Rankin Ridge Nature Trail
heights of observation
Rankin Ridge Fire Tower, Photo by Katie Wheeler

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 mile loop
  • 250′ elevation gain
  • Easy
Centennial Trail
Wind Cave National Park - South Dakota - 2015
Wind Cave National Park , Photo by Shelby L. Bell

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′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Boland Ridge Trail
Boland Ridge Trail, Photo by Mike Oswald

One of the best hikes in Wind Cave National 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′ elevation gain
  • Moderate

Featured Image: Pronghorn Antelope, Photo by jb10okie

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *