When Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903, it was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to be designated a national park in the world. It’s currently the sixth-longest cave in the world with about 140 miles of explored passageways. Every year cave explorers discover roughly 3 miles of unexplored cave passages.
American Indians of the area have known about the opening to Wind Cave and the winds that move in and out of it for centuries. The movement of the wind is related to the difference in atmospheric pressure between the cave and the surface. This might help you understand where the cave got its name. This cave is known for its calcite formations, called boxwork. Boxwork is incredibly rare, and 95 percent of the world's boxwork formations are found in Wind Cave.
Wind Cave is free for visitors to drive and hike through entire park, but guided cave tours range from $10 to $30.
Wind Cave National Park offers a variety of cave tours:
Above ground, the park is home to bison, elk, prairie dogs, coyotes, and turkeys that roam the prairie grasslands and hillsides. The Wind Cave bison herd is one of only four free-roaming herds on public lands. Many roads run throughout the park, and the park encompasses a system of 30 miles of hiking trails suitable for all levels. Nearly the entire park is accessible.
Horses are permitted throughout Wind Cave National Park. All horseback riders must obtain a free permit at the visitor center.