Explore the most popular views 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.

This trail is accessible and beautiful!

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!

hiking
10 months ago

We started hiking this trail from the far south end. It was beautiful! No one else was in sight. Amazing rolling hills and such a peaceful experience. The only challenge was the trail obviously doesn't get much use and was overgrown. It was kind of fun "breaking trail" more or less, but it'd be a challenge for some. Overall, I would definitely do it again.

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!

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

Great hike. Lots of variety, from hills to flat plains. Saw bison, a pair of foxes, and a whole farm of prairie dogs. Also nearly stepped on a rattlesnake and had to brush off a couple ticks. Watch the ground in front of you closely for snakes and check clothes periodically for the buggers. Also, bring sunglasses or some sort of eye protection, the wind on the prairie can be intense.

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.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Beautiful early March walk. Kept pace (at a distance) with a young male Buffalo along the creek bottom. Saw coyote, prairie dogs, antelope, mule deer, a herd of Elk and 2 buffalo carcasses and only one other human. I love this park!!

trail running
Sunday, October 02, 2016

I got there a little later than intended and missed hearing the elk bugal much but I did see them on the trail. There were also deer, antelope, coyote, bison and prairie dogs. Signs for the trail at the parking area would have been nice. I nearly missed the small print sign to turn off the 2 track onto the trail. it looked like game used it more than people. Runkeeper said it was 7.6 from where I parked.

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.

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!

trail running
Monday, April 27, 2015

This trail is located in Wind Cave National Park. I have run the trail (when I worked at Wind Cave). I believe it is open all year, rather than just April to October. The date I entered is just an estimate.

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
Friday, February 08, 2013

Wonderful mid February hike of 5.75 miles. A little snow in low spots with temperature hovering around 45 degrees. The trail covers deep limestone canyons, heavy forest areas and high prairie. Deer , elk, buffalo, and prairie dogs abound. Entire loop trail took about 2.5 hours of easy to moderate hiking.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
8 months ago

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