Hiking The Prairie Vista Trail In Wind Cave National Park
The Prairie Vista Loop trail is only 1 mile long and begins at the visitor center of Wind Cave National Park. This easy, family friendly trail only has about 100 feet of elevation gain. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.
Exit the doors on the bottom floor of the visitors center and follow the paved trail to the natural entrance of Wind Cave. Wind Cave has very few natural entrances and this one is the largest and most well-known naturally formed entrance. I say largest, but keep in mind it’s only about ten inches wide. A sign at the entrance explains the importance of the cave to The Lakota Nation.
Past the natural entrance you will see a sign for the trail. Follow the path till you reach a small picnic area. Picnic tables, water, trash and restrooms are all available here. It’s a nice little picnic area and if you wanted to park here and start the trail at this location you could. You will see the sign for the trail by the restrooms.
During the hike you will stroll through prairie grasslands located in the park. We saw wildflowers, butterflies, birds, chipmunks and even a couple deer during our visit. A number of informational boards are located along the trail providing more insight into the area. The views of the prairie stretch on for quite a while.
While not exceptionally exciting it is a nice easy hike providing another aspect of the park outside of the cave. It’s a pretty walk and doesn’t take that long to complete. We did it in 25 minutes and Jamey always reads all those informational boards.
It’s the perfect way to kill time while waiting for your tour to start. It’s located right at the visitor center so you don’t have to travel anywhere.
If you get bored waiting to tour the cave why not take a little trek on this hike. See the natural entrance, walk through some prairie grasslands and if you’re lucky have a wildlife encounter or two!