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Wind Cave National Park, SD

Vacation Ideas, Resources, Inspiration and more

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Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

RV Rentals for Wind Cave National Park

Taking a trip to the Black Hills in an RV is bound to be a thrilling experience, particularly when you head for the southern Black Hills and Wind Cave National Park. Here you will find the longest underground cave in the world, wildlife, prairie grasses, forests and plenty to do in a unique South Dakota landscape.



Camping in an RV is the best way to have a budget-conscious vacation. You can make inexpensive meals and not spend a lot of unnecessary time (or money) hunting for hotels or motels. There is one campground that accommodates RVs in Wind Cave National Park and others in nearby Custer, South Dakota.


Elk Mountain Campground: This campground is within Wind Cave National Park. Amenities include:

  • Open all year
  • Pull-through sites available
  • Running water during warm months
  • Flush toilets in summer and pit toilets in winter
  • First-come, first-served (no reservations required)
  • Generators allowed from 8 am to 8 pm
  • Dump Stations in Hot Springs and Custer
  • Pets allowed but must be on leash

Beaver Lake Campground: This campground is on West Highway 16 in Custer. Amenities include:

  • 50 amp pull-through sites
  • Large RV sites
  • Shaded
  • Free DSL and WiFi
  • Cable available
  • Heated pool

Big Pine Campground: This campground is on Big Pine Road in Custer. Amenities include:

  • Sites under ponderosa pines
  • Full hookups
  • Large RV sites
  • Free WiFi and DSL
  • Playground
  • Laundry
  • Shower house
  • Open May 1 to October 1

Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground: This campground is on Golden Valley Road in Custer. Amenities include:

  • Full hookups
  • 50 amp service
  • Spacious level sites
  • WiFi
  • Shower house
  • Club house
  • Laundry

Wheels West RV Park: This campground is located on Highway 16A in Custer. Amenities include:

  • Full hookups
  • Long pull-through sites
  • 20, 30 and 50 amp service
  • RV and camping supplies
  • Remodeled bath house

Your First Visit to Wind Cave National Park


The history of the cave exploration is a fascinating subject and you will learn some of it when you visit. J.D. McDonald was the first to claim land at the entrance to the cave in the late 1800s. Although mining here was not successful, McDonald realized he could make money and support his family by giving tours of the cave. One of his sons spent much time exploring and making maps of the interior. Alvin McDonald finally, in 1891, gave up trying to find where the cave ended.


It wasn’t until January 1903 that President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill that created Wind Cave National Park. This was the first time a National Park was created to protect a cave. At that time there was no wildlife within the park boundaries as the area of the park lands was very small. Wildlife was more abundant as the park expanded over time.


Now visitors to the park can see bison, pronghorn and elk. Prairie dogs live here in abundance and breed quickly. Balance is maintained by one of their predators, the black-footed ferret. Since the herds of bison, pronghorn and elk have no natural predators here, the numbers are managed by the park rangers who ship some to other parks and reserves so the area is not overpopulated.



Things to Do


There are a number of activities that visitors find make the trip to Wind Cave National Park very much worth the time.


Stopping by the Visitor Center: Many exhibits exist at the Visitor Center that explain early cave history and the cave formations. Watch the 18-minute movie to discover amazing facts. The film runs throughout the day.


Cave Tours: Of course, the cave tours are the favorite activity at this park. There are a number of different tours to different sections of the cave. All of them will expose you to the colder cave temperatures so be sure to bring a jacket or sweater.


Hiking: There are 30 miles of hiking trails and three nature trails that will take you into the park’s prairie and forests. Some of the hiking trails:

  • Cold Brook Canyon Trail – 1.4 miles long and is mildly strenuous.
  • Wind Cave Canyon Trail – 1.8 miles long and is an easy trail to hike. Great for bird watching.
  • East Bison Flats Trail – 3.7 miles long and is mildly strenuous. Great panoramic views.

Wildlife Viewing: Grab your camera and keep it with you when wandering through the park. You will get some photo gems of bison, beautiful pronghorn and the antics of the prairie dogs. You may catch glimpses of elk and wild turkey, too!


Where to Find More Information


The Wind Cave National Park website has all the information you need for hours, camping, activities and fees. A full list of hiking and nature trails in Wind Cave National Park are on the Hiking Page of the park’s website.


El Monte RV Locations near Wind Cave National Park


Denver El Monte RV Rentals in Louviers, CO is only about an hour’s drive from Denver International Airport (DEN). Fly in, pick up your RV rental and head north to Wind Cave National Park. We can help with directions and travel information. Just call us at (888) 337-2214. We want your vacation to be the best it can be. 




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