Explore the most popular kid friendly trails in Wind Cave National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I'm kicking myself for taking a wrong turn on this one (took the steep uphill at the stream with the Centennial Trail junction, to my chagrin), but I guess the upside is that we were able to see even more bison...and feel better about the fast food stop after the hike! Nice variation between the open meadows and the lower wooded areas along the stream; I imagine that would be especially appreciated on a hot day.

Not as tough as described by the park info. Nice views and plenty of wildlife. The trail goes right through a dog town. We also saw some birds and a buffalo right on the trail. We turned back a little over halfway not wanting to get too close to the buffalo and also because it was getting pretty hot. As others have said, I wouldn't suggest hiking this trail in summer without some cloud cover.

It's also not quite what you might expect from a trail with canyon in the name, although there are some nice rock formations along the way.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful scenery and buffalo were just over the ridge. Also saw lots of buffalo bones near old watering holes. The wind was particularly strong at the intersection at trail 7 so I followed it up the hill and found a great view and gusts of wind that almost took me to my knees, which felt wonderful.

Basically just walking on a dirt road, but the views are nice.

hiking
9 months ago

well marked open trail, wild life male buffalo & prairie fog town. easy for all ages. easy and great on cool day, some shade , not much, beautiful grassy scape.

This trail is accessible and beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

walking
10 months ago

Saw all the wildlife we could. Buffalo, deer, elk, prairie dogs, and even a snake. Beautiful area.. unfortunately took the wrong turn on centennial trail and ended up hiking 5 extra miles to sanctuary trail. Poor signage. Would give five stars if wasn't for poorly marked trail.

This is a great warm up hike. It is short and sweet with great views. We got some amazing panoramas. You can see Badlands and Buffalo Gap from the top. It's a fairly good incline the whole way up, but no technical features. Great hike to finish up a great day in the wilderness!

fabulous views, wonderful variety of wildflowers. watch out for lots of poison ivy on narrow section of loop and some at summit. tower closed.

We love to hike this trail. Clear weather makes for impressive views!

nice short hike; beware it does not end at cold creek. abundant flowers in June. no shade don't hike this in heat

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

The fire lookout tower I believe is closed to the public. But the views were still amazing. It was a beautiful clear day and we could see the Badlands in the distance.

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great small hike for a family with little kids.

I did the Centennial Trail for a short time starting from Badger Hole. It is a lovely hike up and down through the woods. The trail gets very narrow at times, so long pants are advisable. Some parts are rocky. Saw several deer and came up to a 360 lookout point. I recommend this trail if you enjoy hiking through the woods for extended periods, meaning not expecting to arrive at a peak.

hiking
Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nice little trail not too far from Mount Rushmore. Beautiful area!

walking
Friday, July 29, 2016

Good little trail, buffalo and antelope

Nice hike through the prairie hills. NOTE: trail 4 takes a hard right across a small creek about 1/4 mile in, next to trail marker. Lots of people must miss this (we did) evidenced by clear path through unmarked trail. Fortunately after a mile you do end up at centennial trail. Saw several prairie dog towns and bison. You need to be aware of surrounding as were hiking along a herd of bison came crashing down a wooded hill across the trail and up another hill. They came across trail just 30 yards ahead of us.

Gorgeous views 360 degrees!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Easy hike with beautiful views.

hiking
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Great Hike for the family. The trailhead is easy to find and takes you about halfway up the ridge. I strongly suggest taking the trail up to the top and not the service road. Though it was hazy when we went, we could still see Buffalo Gap. On a clear day you could see the Badlands. All in all a great hike of about a mile.

The elevation gain was about 300'.

This is an easy to moderate trail. It combines the Lookout Point trail (number 4 in the Wind Cave National Park) with the last part of South Dakota's Centennial Trail to form a loop. The trail is easy if you travel counter clockwise -- starting on the Lookout trail. A little over 2 miles in you will descend into a series of small valleys. This is a steep descent going counter clockwise, but a steep ascent going clockwise. The Lookout trail takes you across a stretch of prairie, including through a dozen or so prairie dog communities. There is also evidence of bison activity. If you hike in the early evening, you could run into elk coming down from the hills into the valleys about halfway into the hike. We did not see any elk, but we came across a resting bison and a bison carcass. Just after the Lookout and Centennial trails meet, look for the cave on the left where much of a stream ends up. Also. the trail ends on a short but steep incline. Be alert; while the trail is marked some parts have grown over and/or gotten mixed up with elk and bison trails.

hiking
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I did Wind Cave Canyon Trail over to Highland Creek trail and around on Centennial for a decent loop. There were a lot of elk and bison, plenty of prairie (and a ton of fat prairie dogs), followed by some nice hiking in the woods.

hiking
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Every hike we do in Wind Cave has exceded our expectations. This one is no exception! We hiked about 1/2 way and had a picnic dinner just off of the trail. We did have a close encounter with a buffalo. We avoided him on the return trip by hiking off trail for a short distance. It was in the fall so we finished the hike at dusk. One of my most memorable hikes in the Black Hills.

hiking
Thursday, April 15, 2010

a easy hike. great for an evening or early morning hike in Wind Cave!

hiking
Thursday, April 15, 2010

This is not a long hike or strenuous hike, but the views and the wild life to be seen along the way makes it one of our favorites. We have hiked this trail twice and have always had the entire trail to ourselves. The down side of hiking the loop is that the second side is on a road which leads to the tower on the top, but the views are still good.

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