Have you ever heard of Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota? I hadn’t until recently, despite having visited the Black Hills area extensively in the past. It’s easy to overlook this park with Mount Rushmore, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park and Badlands National Park hogging a lot of the attention in the area.
The main attraction of Wind Cave National Park is the cave, obviously. It’s the sixth-longest cave in the world and is known as the densest cave system on Earth. It’s a three-dimensional maze cave that extends over 600 feet deep, and 140+ miles have been mapped so far. Rangers told us that the above-ground surface area of the cave, though, is only about one square mile.
We heard the cave tours fill up fast so we made sure to get an early start (as early as you can with little children in tow). Interestingly enough, Tuesday and Wednesdays are their busiest times in the summer season. Of course, we went on a Tuesday. But we had no problem getting tickets on the Natural Entrance Tour. This is kind of the middle ground in the non-specialty tours in terms of length and how much of the cave you get to see. There’s no entrance fee for the park; that was a bit shocking, after seeing how much it costs to get into other national parks. Rather, they charge for the cave tours only, which is why 99% of people come to Wind Cave National Park (my statistic).