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About Elk Mountain - Wind Cave National Park

This 61-site campground is open all year with sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Two sites are handicap-accessible. Flush toilets and drinking water are available late spring through early fall. Fees are half-price when water is not available. Ranger programs are offered nightly in the amphitheater during the summer. Two group campsites are reservable. Contact the park at 605.745.4600 for more information.

Price
$18.00
Operator
National Park Service
Access
Drive In
Hike In
Features
+ More
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Reservable
Toilets
Trash Available
Water Hookups
Contact
Location
Elk Mountain - Wind Cave National Park is located in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota
Latitude
43.565 N
Longitude
-103.492 W
Get Directions
Directions
The Elk Mountain Campground is located about 11 miles north of Hot Springs, or 22 miles south of Custer, off U.S. Hwy 385, about 1/2 mile west of the highway. Follow the link below for detailed directions to the visitor center; the campground entrance is approximately 1/4 mile north of the visitor center.
16 Reviews of Elk Mountain - Wind Cave National Park
Nice campsite

Nice quite campground with bathrooms close to beautiful hiking trails

Peaceful Prairie Camping

The campground rarely fills up which means there’s no rush to get there. Because you’re in the rolling grasslands there is little seclusion between campsites but sites are spaced far enough that you still have some privacy. Great views of the nearby hills and spectacular evening and morning light! Wind caves is also an easy day’s drive from the Badlands and well worth getting off the main routes westward.

Spacious and Quiet

This is the only campground in Wind Cave NP and has four loops with just over 60 sites. Loop A is for tents only and is the only loop with designated tent pads. Loop D has group sites that are reservable.

Some sites are in or near trees, but many are in grassy areas with little to no shade.

Each loop has restrooms with flush toilets and running water. There are water faucets for every couple of sites, however at the time there were a few that were not working.

Each site has a fire ring and picnic table.

There is a shed at the entrance where firewood/kindling are available for a donation.

There were lots of wildlife in/around the campground: mule deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and bison.

Just south of the campground is the visitors center where tickets for the cave tours can be purchased.

This campground is centrally located for visiting Jewel Cave, Badlands NP, Mt. Rushmore, and exploring the Black Hills region.

My only complaint is that many of the sites (on loops B-D) are more for RVs just to park and don't have much space for tents. As a result, several sites can only accommodate small tents because there's not much space with a fire ring and picnic table too.

Nice stay

We opted to spend the night here on our way back to the Twin Cities from Colorado. We stayed at C4- it was nice and private enough from our nearby neighbors. Going to the Wind Cave was really neat- be warned the elevator is currently out of service so you would have to go through the natural entrance. While we were there it was dry enough so that there was a fire ban.

Wind Cave is about an hour away from Reptile Gardens (which definitely exceeded my expectations).

Pretty views, close to Wind Cave, The Badlands and Mount Rushmore

This campground is centrally locates to some great activities in South Dakota. We made day trips to visit the Badlands, Wall Drug Store, Wind Cave and Mount Rushmore. The Rangers had a presentation at the campground at night. There are bathrooms but no showers or electric. There are water pumps available for water. Dogs have to be on a 6 foot leash.

Primitively Perfect!

Kept our camper there while we did a night of backcountry camping in Wind Cave National Park and we really liked how private and quiet it was. We felt safe leaving the camper there overnight. Definitely recommend!

Hidden Gem

Great campground. $18 per spot. First come first serve and the ranger said in 20 years, it has never filled up. It's is on the edge of a forest in a little valley. I took a walk outside the campground at dusk and on a ridge nearby was a lone wind cave bison just eating grass among the crickets. They also have a small ampitheater where rangers give talks every night during the summer at 9pm.

First to Review
it doesn’t get much better!

Nice campground tucked between two hills, one side wooded, one side grassland. Wild life, hiking, fire pits, nice tables, level sites with water available but not for hook up.

Beautiful Vistas

In the off season, you get bare bones ie a pit toilet. Lots of space for tents and rvs. The RV sites do have water. You check in by filling out a slip and using the envelope provided. There is a beautiful open expanse to hike a buffalo literally right outside the camp ground. Take a tour of Wind Cave National Park while you’re there too.

Quiet, simple campsite that rarely fills

Although most people simply make Wind Cave a one-day or even half-day trip, we decided to stay two nights at Elk Mountain Campground and we are so glad we did. Beyond the Cave tours at the park, there was plenty of hiking and scenic drives around the area to make our time there more fulfilling.

The campground itself was cozy. Your basic, national park campground, with standard amenities like a picnic table, flush toilets, and a great evening ranger program about wildlife sounds at night.

The biggest thing we learned about this campground is the fact that it has rarely ever filled up, even though people fight for campsites in the Rapid City area during the busy season. Elk Mountain must not be on the tourist radar, which was perfectly fine with us.

We really enjoyed this park: we took the Natural Entrance Tour, which offered a great lead-up to entering the cave itself. We also took the Park Loop Scenic Drive and hiked Ranken Ridge, the highest point in the park.

You can read much more about our two days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Wind Cave)