The Cave at Wind Cave National Park is Expected to Close for the Summer

Wind Cave National Park is warning visitors that the park’s namesake attraction will close sometime in late spring. The closure should last into the fall. National Park Service officials announced in a Facebook post that the closure is due to replacing and modernizing the park’s elevator system.

Wind Cave is the sixth longest cave in the world at more than 150 miles long. There are endless chambers located in South Dakota. The name comes from the cave, ” breathing,” meaning there is continuous airflow. Currently, all access to the cave is through guided ranger tours. That means you can’t explore the cave on your own. However, these tours will hit the breaks later this year as work on the elevator system begins.

Park officials want visitors to know there’s still plenty to see in the national park. While obviously, the cave is a focal point, the outside prairie land has plenty for guests to check out. In fact, the post says new exhibits will open next month.

The prairie land at Wind Cave National Park. (Source: Sophia Simoes)

“These new exhibits tell a more inclusive story of this land using interpretive panels, video clips, and hands-on exhibits that are all fully accessible,” the park wrote in the Facebook post. “Using LIDAR technology, rangers will be offering virtual cave tours in the visitor center auditorium throughout the summer.”

The park bills itself as “two worlds,” meaning the cave is just half the experience. Exploring the trails outside the cave is another option. Along the way, guests may see numerous animals, including a bison herd. Like Yellowstone, the bison at Wind Cave National Park are free-roaming, and visitors should keep their distance. Other animals include elk, coyotes, pronghorn, and prairie dogs.

If nothing else, Wind Cave is an excellent road trip spot if heading west to parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, or Rocky Mountain National Park.

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