Explore the most popular walking 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.

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!

9 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!

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!

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

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.

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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Too much for toddlers but still lots of fun for the family

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!!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Pretty cool trail. Saw plenty of buffalo and great views

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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Good little trail, buffalo and antelope

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A very prairie trail. We saw Bison, Antelope, and deer. Start early in the summer to beat the heat. Pretty views.

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.

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.

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.

on Boland Ridge Trail

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Excellent 2-4 hour day hike for beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing and good exercise. Optimal time to arrive is sunrise for wildlife viewing and to beat the summer sun rays that can be excessive if one waits to middle of day. Follow route map directions carefully because there are multiple animal trails that can lead one off trail course and because NPS sign posts are knocked down. NPS does not bury sign posts in ground, but stick them in a few inches and base support the thin posts (actually thin sticks) with rocks. I found most trail sign posts lying in the grass and spent part of my time sticking them back in the ground and basing them with rocks. Trail is well define, easy to moderate. Only on direct ascent up ridge pass is moderate effort required. Hikers with modest orienteering skills can make this a full day hike by looping north and bushwhacking along the ridge, then down the ridge and back through the grassland to the trailhead. Trailhead road is seen easily from ridge and one could head to road and then walk south to trailhead. One only can loop north because the Boland Ridge trail ends at the South Park boundary where a fence separates public park land from private ranch land. I give this trail a four star rating for beautiful scenery, good chance for wildlife viewing, solitude and long enough to give one good exercise. I do wish the NPS, though, would make this a long day hike of 10-12 miles by looping the trail north, then west and finally south back to trailhead.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This trail was better than we expected. We arrived an hour after sunrise so Wind Cave National Park would be more visible with the sun behind us during the climb. Being lush and green due to alot of rain lately the trail was pretty much non existent. However, we could see the area it climbed up the ridge and just headed out cross country. Once on the ridge, stakes marked the path so it was easy to just walk in that direction without a trail. There were no people, no sounds other then wind, birds and the buffalo! Go early, we saw several elk, coyote, bison, prong horn....

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.

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