Wind Cave National Park

  • National Park Service

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Wind Cave Information

Home to one of the world's longest and most complex caves, South Dakota's Wind Cave National Park lures visitors with mixed-grass prairie and wildlife.

The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs. The park's mixed-grass prairie is one of the few remaining and is home to native wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs.

American Indians of the area have known about the opening to Wind Cave for centuries. However, the first recorded finding of Wind Cave was in 1881. Jesse and Tom Bingham were attracted to the cave by a whistling noise. As the story goes, wind was blowing out of the cave entrance with such force that it blew off Tom's hat. A few days later when Jesse returned to show this phenomenon to some friends, he was surprised to find the wind had switched directions and his hat was sucked into the cave. Today, we understand that the direction of the wind is related to the difference in atmospheric pressure between the cave and the surface.

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