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Wind Cave National Park Fees & Reservations

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Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park (Photo credit: AR Nature Gal)

Visiting Wind Cave National Park won’t cost you a bean, you can drive through this beautiful park for nothing! If, however, you plan to stay a while and experience some of the great cave tours you’ll have to pay for the privilege, and if you plan to stay overnight and enjoy the benefits of camping in Wind Cave National Park you’ll have to pay for that too, but hey, it’s only fair.

There are, however, a number of fee free days throughout the year when the fees for the cave tours are waived, but hang on, many of these tours are extremely popular when you do have to pay so you can imagine how many people would like to see them for free. You’d better make sure you get there nice and early.

These are the free free tours for 2013, it’s pretty much the same each year, the dates might change slightly but the day’s probably won’t.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – 21 January 2013

National Park Week – 22 – 26 April

National Park Service Birthday – 25 August

National Public Lands Day – 28 September

Veterans Day Weekend – 9 – 11 November

Remember, it could get busy – you have been warned!

Wind Cave National Park Cave Tours & Fees

(For times and schedules, plus a lot more cave tour info click here).

This is how much you’ll have to pay to enjoy a Wind Cave National Park cave tour on any other day;

  • Garden of Eden Cave Tour – the least strenuous of all the tours, this one hour experience involves around 150 steps which are mostly downhill, the tour starts and ends in an elevator. Prices for this tour are $7 per adult (over 16) and $3.50 for children (6 – 16 years), it’s free for kiddies under the age of 5. Holders of the Senior Access Golden Age Passports pay the child price of $3.50.
  • Natural Entrance Cave Tour – this Wind Cave National Park cave tour is a little more strenuous with around 300 steps, again mostly heading down. The tour takes around one and a quarter hours and costs $9 for adult (over 16), $4.50 for children (6 – 16 years) and Senior Access Golden Age Passport holders, and again is free for kiddies under the age of 5.
  • Fairgrounds Cave Tour – this is another tour which is moderately strenuous incorporating around 450 stairs and taking around an hour and a half. Fees to enjoy this tour are $9 for adults (over 16 years), $4.50 for children (6 – 16 years) and Senior Access Golden Age Passport holders, again children under the age of 5 have free admission.
  • Historic Candlelight Cave Tour – experience the lesser developed areas of the caves in Wind Cave National Park by candlelight. Every person carries their own candle bucket. This tour is a little more strenuous, sturdy shoes must be worn with a non-slip sole and there is a minimum age limit of 8 years. Only 10 people can enjoy this tour at any one time so it is one of the few tours which need to be reserved in advance. Prices for the tour are $9 for adults (over 16) and $4.50 for children (8 – 16 years) and Senior Access Golden Age Pass holders. Oh, I almost forgot, this one takes two hours and is well worth the effort if you can manage it.
  • Wild Cave Tour – gives visitors the chance to explore the caves without sticking to the developed trails – that’s what is “wild” about it. There’s a lot of crawling about on this four hour tour so it’s always best to wear old  clothes with long pants and sturdy shoes. The park will provide the necessary hard hats, kneepads and lights. There is a minimum age restriction of 16 years for this strenuous adventure, reservations are necessary and the price is $23 each (half price for Senior Access Golden Age Pass holders.
  • Tours for Special Needs Tours – some of the areas are accessible by wheelchair, advance reservations and notice must be given for these special tours. The price is $5 per adult, $2.50 per child and Senior Access Golden Age Pass holder.


Camping at Wind Cave National Park

Campers can stay at the Elk Mountain Campground in beautiful Wind Cave National Park. With sites available for motor homes and tents it really is a wonderful place from which to explore the park.

  • Elk Mountain Campground is open throughout the year.
  • Water and flush toilets are available during the season and turned off from late in the fall until early in the spring.
  • The camping fee is $12 per night through the summer season and $6 per night from late in the fall through to early in the springtime – basically when the water is on it’s $12, when it’s off it’ll cost ya’ $6.
  • Sites are suitable for up to 8 people and just one vehicle.
  • Campsites are available strictly on a first come, first served basis.
  • Camping is restricted  to 14 days maximum.
  • There are two accessible sites available.
  • RV’s are welcome, there are 25 pull through sites although none of them have electrical hookups or showers.
  • Generators are permitted between 8 am and 8 pm only. Quiet time is between 10 pm and 6 am.
  • Fires are permitted only in the fire grates provided. Visitors are not permitted to gather wood from within the park but there is wood available in a bin at the campground entrance for which donations are gratefully accepted.
  • Pets are permitted at the campground and within Wind Cave National Park but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Back Country Camping at Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park is open for back country campers in the north west section of the park only, to the north of Beaver Creek and the west of the Highland Creek Trail. There is a choice of different habitats for visitors to camp in and explore including forest and prairie. It doesn’t cost anything to enjoy some back country camping at Wind Cave National Park but visitors must have a free permit available from the visitor center. Campsites must be at least a quarter mile from roads (and out of sight) and at least 100 feet from the trail and any water source.  It’s important to leave this beautiful land exactly as you found it, undisturbed and of course take all litter with you. Leave no trace . . .

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