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General Campground Info

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. The QR code is located at the campgroudn kiosk. 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.

Recreation

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.
Facilities

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.
Natural Features

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_info
This 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.

This page includes information about Elk Mountain Campground in Wind Cave National Park | Bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America’s oldest national parks.

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