Situated in the Black Hills of South Dakota lies Wind Cave National Park. This unique destination protects a massive cave and is home to a variety of wildlife, including bison and prairie dogs. If it’s your first time visiting the park, you’ll want to be sure to explore the main points of interest!
You can’t visit Wind Cave National Park without visiting the namesake Wind Cave! The best way to explore the cave is on an organized tour, so be sure to book yours in advance. Visitors will love the unique boxwork found throughout this complex cave.
Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center
The starting point for all cave tours, visitors to the park will definitely want to stop by the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center. Learn more about the history and features of Wind Cave, speak with a ranger, sign up for a tour, and enjoy a variety of nature exhibits.
Wind Cave Canyon Trail
The Wind Cave Canyon Trail is a 3.8-mile round trip hike that offers incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature immersion. Accessible for all skill levels, the Wind Cave Canyon Trail offers phenomenal views over the canyon below.
Rankin Ridge Trail
The Rankin Ridge Trail is a 1-mile loop that offers striking views of the surrounding Black Hills. The trail winds through a pine forest dotted with vibrant wildflowers. This hike is moderate, so be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes and bring plenty of water with you.
Boland Ridge Trail
4.8 miles round trip, the Boland Ridge Trail offers opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat as well as panoramic vistas over all of Wind Cave National Park. A moderate hike, visitors will climb the ridge to achieve truly breathtaking views.
Located in the heart of Utah’s Canyon Country, Bryce Canyon National Park protects a massive natural amphitheatre which was created by erosion over millions of years. Offering spectacular scenery, it’s no question why Bryce Canyon National Park is among the most popular national parks in Utah. Visitors to the park should take the necessary safety precautions to ensure a smooth trip.
Weather in Bryce Canyon National Park can be extreme and change rapidly without warning. Bring plenty of water with you and wear proper sun protection and layers to easily adapt to changing conditions. In case of a thunderstorm, stay away from tall trees and wide open areas and seek shelter or return to your vehicle to avoid lightning strikes.
Mountain lions call Bryce Canyon National Park home, so in the unlikely event that you encounter one, stay calm, do not run, and make yourself seem as large as possible to avoid confrontation. Never feed or approach wildlife in the park and make sure to always keep a safe distance.
Bryce Canyon National Park has an abundance of steep drop-offs, cliffs, and canyon edges that are not protected by railings. Make sure to stay on the designated trails, watch your step, and keep a safe distance from the edge at all times. Do not climb or slide down the cliffs. The gravel and terrain in the area can be slippery and crumbly, so pass with care and wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction.
Parts of the park lie at extremely high altitudes which can cause visitors to experience altitude sickness. Take the proper time for your body to acclimate and don’t push yourself too hard. Bring plenty of water and altitude sickness medication just in case.
Bryce Canyon National Park encompasses a vast area in southern Utah. With breathtaking landscapes and plenty of trails to explore, it’s no question why it is one of Utah’s most popular national parks. Continue your trip at one of the following nearby destinations.
Zion National Park – Just an hour and a half outside of Bryce Canyon National Park lies Zion National Park. Characterized by sandstone rock formations and steep cliffs, Zion is home to spectacular scenery that draws visitors from around the country.
Capitol Reef National Park – Capitol Reef National Park sits just over 2 hours outside of Bryce Canyon National Park, making it an excellent destination to continue onto. Visitors to the park are amazed by the striking rock formations and the Waterpocket Fold, a unique wrinkle in the earth.
Arches National Park – Arches National Park is about 4 hours from Bryce Canyon National Park and is defined by striking sandstone arches. Explore the park’s many arches and revel in the natural beauty of the landscape.
Canyonlands National Park – 4.5 hours away from Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park provides a lovely addition to your trip. Defined by dramatic desert scenery and vast landscapes, there is much to see and explore in this gorgeous national park.
Salt Lake City, Utah – The capital city of Utah, Salt Lake City offers visitors endless attractions. Just over 4 hours from Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll love exploring iconic Temple Square, stunning gardens, and fascinating religious buildings that abound in Salt Lake City.
Located in western South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park was the first cave in the world to become an official national park. Wind Cave’s boxwork and frostwork formations are some of the more noteworthy features of this incredible national park. Visitors to Wind Cave should take the necessary safety precautions to ensure a smooth trip.
You’re sure to see your share of wildlife when visiting Wind Cave National Park. The park is home to prairie dogs, bison, mountain lions, and more. Always make sure to keep a safe distance from all wildlife, especially bison during mating season. Never feed or approach wild animals both for their safety and yours. Poison ivy is prevalent throughout Wind Cave National Park, so know how to identify it, always stay on designated trails, and watch where you reach and step.
The cave is dark and can be slippery with uneven terrain. It’s essential to wear sturdy shoes with good traction if you plan to take a tour of the cave, and you might consider also bringing a flashlight.
Situated in eastern California, Devils Postpile National Monument protects a fascinating rock formation known as the Devils Postpile as well as Rainbow Falls and the surrounding natural landscape.
Devils Postpile was established as a national monument in 1911 by President Taft. The monument was originally part of Yosemite National Park, but with the discovery of gold in 1905 a boundary was created that separated Devils Postpile from the rest of the park.
Later on, the construction of a hydroelectric dam that would destroy Devils Postpile was proposed. John Muir along with other influential California natives convinced the federal government to protect this fascinating monument, resulting in its establishment as a national monument.
The Devils Postpile is a unique example of columnar basalt, with 60-foot towering pillars and striking symmetry. Situated in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, the landscape is rugged and mountainous, rife with hiking trails and campgrounds. Expect to see wildflowers in bloom during the summer and a plethora of wildlife year round.