While you may never have heard of it, Wind Cave National Park was the seventh national park to be created. President Theodore Roosevelt, who fell in love with the Dakotas, designated it in 1903. With slightly more than 140 miles of passageways, it’s the sixth longest cave on Earth. Four new miles of cave are discovered every year.

The caverns here feature an impressive collection of boxwork—a honeycomb-like pattern composed of thin calcite fins and other geologic formations.

There’s also wildlife to be seen, including 400-500 bison roaming more than 20 acres of this national park. Their history is fascinating. After the massive slaughter of bison in the 1800s, bison had virtually been wiped out in the Black Hills area. In 1914, park reserve managers decided to reintroduce bison to the area and found their future bison in one of the most unlikely places. Home to some of the last genetically wild bison in the nation, the staff at the New York City Zoo boarded 14 bison, including one named “Sandy” on an express train to the Black Hills. When Sandy died of old age in 1936,  journalists across the country reported she was the first bison to be born in a zoo and die on the range.

Learn more at nps.gov/wica.

Wind Cave's rare stalactites

Wind Cave's rare stalactites at Skyway Lake

Favorite Hike: Wind Cave Canyon Trail

This 1.8-miler cruises through a classic limestone canyon where birdwatching is excellent. Watch out for great horned owls and cliff swallows.

Wind Cave by the Numbers


miles of cave passageway, making it the sixth longest on earth.


new miles of cave discovered every year.


U.S. national park, designated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.

654 feet

maximum depth of the cave from its entrance.


stairs you'll climb or descent on the cave's natural entrance tour.

75 mph

maximum recorded wind speed at the cave's entrances.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/wica


A grassy trail through Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Spot bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs as you drive the Badlands Hwy. 240 Loop Road or explore by foot on one of its many hiking trails.

A cave explorers stands in a passage near the Crushing Deep during the 175th mile exploration trip in Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota

As the world’s third-longest cave, Jewel boasts 182 miles of mapped passages. See something called “cave bacon” when you take the popular Scenic Tour.

Wild horse at Wild Horse Island. Photo courtesy of Montana State Parks

Montana State Parks between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park

See a Native American bison jump, ancient rock drawings, and wild horses on your road trip between two of America's most popular national parks.

Minuteman Launch Control Center at the Missile Site in South Dakota.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Explore nuclear weapon history near the northeast Pinnacles Entrance to Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore Aerial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Constructed from 1927-41, the memorial features the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Red Bus Tour in Glacier National Park

48 Hours in Glacier National Park

Favorite things to do in Glacier from a peaceful boat ride and breathtaking hike to eating one of the best huckleberry pastries ever.

A barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park

48 Hours in Grand Teton National Park

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Grand Teton from amazing hiking trails to scenic boat rides and the best huckleberry milkshake ever.

Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park

Where to See Wildlife in the Badlands and Black Hills

There’s more than monuments in this incredible corner of South Dakota. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.

Mountain Goats at Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park

Where to See Wildlife in Glacier National Park

You’ll see more than incredible views when you visit Glacier. Keep an eye out for these six fascinating animals.