Wind Cave National Park is the place where mixed-grass prairies and windy underground caves meet. The first recorded discovery of Wind Cave was in 1881 when Jesse and Tom Bingham heard a loud sound of rushing air. Following the whistling noise created by the air across the open plains, they discovered the entrance to an underground cave in some limestone under a bush. The 10-inch by 16-inch oval-shaped hole blasted the Binghams with a rush of cold air giving the cave the name it has today. Wind Cave is recognized as the densest cave system in the world and is also one of the longest, containing over 149 miles of explored passageways. Inside the cave, boxwork, popcorn, snowball, and frostwork formations are a few of the speleothems that decorate the surrounding surfaces. Guided tours, when available, are the only way to go inside the cave and see the beautiful chambers and formations that this National Park is famous for. Tours are on a first come first serve basis and require tickets be purchased for a fee. Above ground, explore over 30 miles of hiking trails through mixed-grass prairie and ponderosa pine forest while keeping a sharp eye out for the bison, elk, mountain lions, or other animals that roam throughout the park. If you love wildlife photography, you’ll have plenty of opportunities here. Take advantage of the many trails within the park to see some pretty incredible animals!
Top Photography Locations and Sights at Wind Cave National Park:
As photographers, we know that many of you will only have one chance in a lifetime to visit the National Parks. To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of our top photography locations and sights at Wind Cave National Park! While this is not comprehensive, and there are many more amazing sights to see, it should give you a good feel for the park.
- Gobbler Pass (Sunset)
- Wind Cave Tour (43°33’25.9″N 103°28’45.9″W)
- Lookout Tower (43°37’22.0″N 103°29’09.4″W)
- Beaver Creek Bridge (43°35’08.3″N 103°29’09.0″W)
- Open Plains (43°36’45.0″N 103°24’07.6″W)
- Elk Mountain Trail (Easy. 1 mile, round trip)
- Prairie Vista Trail (Easy. 1 mile, round trip)
- Rankin Ridge Trail (Easy. 1 mile, round trip)
- Wind Cave Canyon (Easy. 1.8 miles, one-way)
- Cold Brook Canyon Trail (Moderate. 1.4 miles, one-way)
- Lookout Point Trail (Moderate. 2.2 miles, one-way)
- Sanctuary (Strenuous. 3.6 miles, one-way)
- East Bison Flats ( Strenuous. 3.7 miles, one-way)
- Centennial (Strenuous. 6 miles, one-way)
- Highland Creek (Strenuous. 8.6 miles, one-way)
- Boland Ridge (Strenuous. 2.6 miles, one-way)
Map of Wind Cave National Park:
- Featured Photo Credit: Sunrise at Wind Cave National Park
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