Elk Mountain Campground Overview
Elk Mountain Campground, straddles the edge of a ponderosa pine forest and open prairie, offering unique opportunities to view the diverse flora and fauna of the southern Black Hills. These campsites are available in both forested and open environments.
- May 20 to September 30: Customers can reserve reservations in advace or for the same day.
- October 1 to May 19: Elk Mountain Campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Visitors must arrive at the campground to purchase and claim a site. Once on-site, you can pay for your campsite(s) by scanning a QR code using the Recreation.gov mobile app. Please download the Recreation.gov mobile app before you leave for your trip (see our "Need to Know" tab for more information).
NOTE: This is a cashless campground. Only credit cards will be accepted through Recreation.gov or the Recreation.gov mobile app.
Hiking at Wind Cave
- View rolling prairie vistas, ponderosa forests, and see wildlife in its natural environment. Wind Cave National Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails on the surface and provides visitors the opportunity to view pristine Black Hills scenery. Find out which trail is the best for you.
Pet Friendly Hikes
- If you are traveling with a furry friend, Wind Cave has two pet friendly trails. Both are close to the visitor center and about one mile in length.
Become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger
- Kids of all ages can become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger. Complete the activity book, learn about the park, and take the pledge to earn a Junior Ranger badge.
This 63-site campground is open all year with sites available on a reservation basis from May 20th to September 30th. In the off-season, only B-loop is available. Sites 17 and 49 are handicap-accessible. Flush toilets and drinking water are available from late spring through early fall. Fees are half-price when water is not available. Ranger programs are offered most nights in the amphitheater during the summer. Two group campsites are able to be reserved 10 months out.
Wind Cave National Park protects two very different worlds - one deep within the earth, the other a sunlit world of many resources. Bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks.
Visit Wind Cave's Natural Entrance
- You can still see the largest natural opening into Wind Cave without going on a tour. This small hole is one of the only known natural entrances into the cave. Lakota oral tradition speaks of how the first bison and humans emerged from this deeply spiritual place.
contact_infoThis location is unstaffed. To speak with our main office for general information, please call: (605) 745-4600.
Directions to Campground
The visitor center is 11 miles (18 km) north of Hot Springs off US Hwy. 385, about 1/2 mile (.8 km) west of the highway. Do not rely exclusively on your GPS or Google Maps to find the campground. Routes can be misleading or incorrect. The coordinates for the Visitor Center are N43.55677 W103.47799 From Rapid City, South Dakota: Follow SD Hwy. 79 south approximately 50 miles (80 km) to US Hwy. 385. Turn right onto US Hwy. 385 north. Continue through Hot Springs another 6 miles (9.5 km) north into Wind Cave National Park. Once in the park follow signs to the visitor center for cave tours and general park information. From Chadron, Nebraska: Follow US Hwy. 385 north through Hot Springs, SD to the park. Once in the park follow signs to the visitor center for cave tours and general park information. From Custer State Park: Follow SD Hwy. 87 south into Wind Cave National Park. Once in the park follow signs to the visitor center for cave tours and general park information.
Below the remnant island of intact prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere. | South Dakota | https://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm