Explore South Dakota National Parks

South Dakota has nearly 60 State parks and 7 National Parks / Historic Sites. Custer State Park is considered to be the perfect location for an exciting vacation for the entire family. Also, the Lewis and Clark Trail that retraces the historic journey through the state, is ideal for adventure lovers. Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Jewel Cave National Monument are the other stunning destinations.

South Dakota is one of the proud states of America that is enriched with many adventures, historical and natural landscapes. It is amazing to explore all of these locations. Moreover, it is commendable that all these reserves are expertly preserved by the government in the shape of National parks in South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is certainly the biggest attraction of the state bringing in about two million visitors annually. Situated near Keystone, the memorial is a massive granite sculpture wherein the faces of four American Presidents have been beautifully carved. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are bought alive in this masterpiece creation.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, has some of the most spectacular natural formations in the United States. The White River Badlands could, in fact, be considered a pocket-sized cousin of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. About one-tenth of the Badlands-the most amazing parts-were declared a national park in the 1970s.

sunset over badlands
Badlands National Park

Visitors to the Badlands National Park can backpack or climb just about anywhere. Among the best of the marked hiking trails are the Door Trail, a loop that enters the eerie wasteland through a natural doorway. Another fantastic trail is the Fossil Exhibit Trail, ten miles ahead. The Badlands’ rainbow colors are most vibrant at dawn, dusk and just after rainfall. Many animals – black-tailed prairie dogs, mule deer, bison, coyotes, and bighorn sheep thrive under the conditions in Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park is a great family park. A handful of seasonal campgrounds operate both in the park and in Wall, which is the most visited commercial center in the region. Short scenic helicopter rides leave from outside the northeast entrance of the park. Adjoining the Ben Reifel visitor center, you can find in-park accommodations. The National Grasslands visitor center makes a good jumping-off point and provides maps.

To witness the amazing landscapes of ancient deposits of sediments and minerals for about 500,000 years this is the ultimate place. Here you get the exceptional natural beauty that attracts you and gets closer to nature. You can have hikes, camping, photography and much more at the park. At the park, you will get all the required assistance and it is easy to plan up a healthy and worthy visit here.

Wind Cave National Park

Beneath wide open plains, Wind Cave National Park, ten minutes north of Hot Springs, comprises over 100 miles of mapped underground passages carved out of limestone. The park contains one of the world’s longest and most complex caves. It was first discovered in 1881 when a loud whistling noise led a settler to the cave’s only natural opening in the ground.

This was the first cave to be assigned national park status anywhere in the world when it was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The cave is home to around 95% of all the boxwork (a calcite rock formation) in the world and a good display of frostwork. The land above the cave is the largest remaining prairie of mixed grass in the US and home to elk, prairie dogs, bison and black footed ferrets. A stroll along some of the 30 miles of trails lets visitors mix with nature and a campsite is open year round.

herd of bison crossing highway
Wind Cave National Park

Nowadays rangers lead a variety of cave tours from the park’s visitor center, pointing out delicate features such as frostwork and box work along the way. If you come in summer, forget the standard walking tours and opt for the ones that allow you to crawl around in the smaller passages, or explore the caves by candlelight. Various tours are offered which differ in duration and detail. The Garden of Eden Tour is the most basic of these. Lasting about one hour, this 1/4 mile tour goes through the upper level of the cave.

If you lack the time or inclination to explore the caves in detail, simply driving through the park is an incredible Black Hills experience. Its native grass prairie land is home to deer, antelope, elk, coyote, prairie dogs and huge herds of buffalos. For hikers, the park has two nature trails. The Elk Mountain Nature Trail is the most popular, while The Ridge Nature Trail is preferred by some visitors.

This is the best place to witness the above ground and cave landscapes at their best. You will get amazing plants and natural growth above land. While beneath the soil, there are 140 miles of passages ways mapped in caves. The park has the longest cave systems in the country that gives you the real tourism goals. You will definitely love the passages and can have many other important attractions there.

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