Wind Cave National Park - South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park – South Dakota

The whistling of the stones

According to Acronymmonster, Wind Cave National Park is located in western South Dakota. The national park was founded in 1903. The nearest town to Wind Cave National Park is Custer. Up to 850,000 tourists visit the national park in South Dakota every year. The park has a size of 114 km². The Wind Caves were discovered in 1881. At that time, a constant whistling sound could be heard in the immediate vicinity of the caves.

Boxwork in Wind Cave National Park

Air flowed through a small hole and produced the whistling sound. This small hole was enlarged and now forms the entrance to the “Wind Caves”. The temperature in the caves is 9°C all year round.

The wind whistles through the caves

The focal point of Wind Cave National Park is a widely branched limestone cave system. So far about 200 km of the cave system have been explored. Characteristic of the Wind Caves (caves) in the National Park are the honeycomb appearing mineral structures and formations, which are referred to as ” boxwork “. They are found on many of the cave walls in Wind Cave National Park.

Chipmunks in the national park

The caves are very dry. A constant draft can be felt in the caves of Wind Cave, hence the name “Wind Cave”. Wind Cave National Park is open year-round. Guided tours of the caves are offered for a fee. Jewel Cave is another cave system that is very close to the Wind Caves.

Prairie with bison, antelope and deer

Of course, the national park is not just limited to the “underworld”. The above-ground areas of Wind Cave National Park are also extremely worthy of protection. A very original flora and fauna has been preserved there. Larger mammals such as prairie dogs, wapiti deer, bison, elk and pronghorn antelope can be found there.

Road through Wind Cave National Park

The black-footed polecat, which is already extinct in the wild, has been reintroduced since 2007 in a large-scale reintroduction program in Wind Cave National Park, but also in other regions of the USA.

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is north of Wind Cave National Park. Both sanctuaries together are home to many rare wildlife. In addition to the prairie landscape, there are larger pine forests in the Wind Caves National Park.

Jewel Cave National Monument – South Dakota

cave labyrinth

Jewel Cave National Monument is located in the southwest of the US state of South Dakota. The Jewel Cave is an underground cave system with a widely branched labyrinth of corridors.

Limestone formations in Jewel Cave in South Dakota

To date, about 250 kilometers of underground caves and passages have been explored. However, only a specified area of ​​the caves is accessible to tourists. Unfortunately, a major fire in 2004 destroyed the above ground facilities at Jewel Cave National Monument. The caves, the “Jewel Caves”, may only be entered with a ranger from the national park administration.

Jewel in the Black Hills

Jewel Cave National Monument is located in the Black Hills, not far from the small town of Custer. The nearest major city is Rapid City in South Dakota. About 100,000 tourists venture into the ” Jewel Caves ” each year. The Jewel Cave National Monument was founded in 1908; proper exploration of the caves only began in the 1960s and continues to this day.

It is suspected that there are other large, previously undiscovered cave areas at Jewel Cave National Monument. Some areas of the cave walls are covered with calcite crystals, hence the name “Jewel Cave”.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – South Dakota

Character heads carved in stone

Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Between 1927 and 1941, four portrait heads of the most important American presidents at the time were blasted out and carved into the rocks of Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota

From left to right, the Mount Rushmore Monument features the following former US Presidents:

US Presidents at Mount Rushmore

  • george washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • AbrahamLincoln

Heads in granite popular with Americans

The stone monument in the Black Hills is a very popular and well-frequented tourist destination in South Dakota. About 2.5 million people visit the Black Hills in the US state of South Dakota every year to get a picture of Mount Rushmore and the gigantic portraits of former US presidents. Originally it was not the heads of the presidents that were to be immortalized in the stone, but rather scenes of important people from the “Wild West”.

George Washington at Mount Rushmore

In the landscape area behind the portrait heads, but still on the rock plateau, the ” Hall of Records ” can be visited. There you can discover important documents and artifacts related to the work on the heads and US history in general. Southeast of said heads is the ” Sculptor’s Studio ” with a scaled-down representation of the heads. Not far away are the visitor center and a souvenir shop. On the Presidential Trail, the visitor can take a circular route right up to the mountains with the heads and the upstream spoil tips of the granite that was removed at the time.

The Monument to the Presidents was never completed as originally planned. The original plan was to depict the presidents waist-high. The US natives, who lived in this region of the US for a very long time and still live there, see the monument of the Presidents as a desecration of their sacred mountains of the Black Hills.

Wind Cave National Park - South Dakota