Passing through South Dakota rests a very unique park unlike any other you will find. The Wind Cave National Park in its own right is emoting of great majesty, a unique preserved ecosystem in the midst of a world which has moved in and managed to destroy so much of the grassy prairie lands through development. Passing into the park is passing into a piece of history.
While the cave itself is something of a wonder, the park itself is a ground which should also be noted. It is a place where wild bison roam free, elk pass through and can be found thriving, prairie dogs bark adamantly and so many more unique native animals and plants can be observed and appreciated.
It is in this area that you will find Elk Mountain Campground.
When I drove through this area I wasn't sure what to expect. The rolling prairie plains were beautiful however did not offer much in way of shade and that somewhat concerned me as I drove closer and closer to camp, however the world began to roll as hills turned and transitioned into a forest of wonder and lush green grasses.
The campground looked like a different world from the world which I had been driving in coming from Hot Springs. Tall trees shaded sites and provided a soft bed for tent campers, large pull ins offered RVs options for a variety of sizes and styles of camping. Each site was adorned with the standard fire rings and picnic tables and depending on your desire you could stay in a location which was completely shaded or had sun exposure.
Bathrooms here are flush toilets with running water, including a wash basin room for dishes and though there were not showers it didn't seem to be an inconvenience with all the beauty around.
Group sites offered large grassy knolls and in some cases pavilions for use and with winding paths around camp to differentiate the loops through sites were close together they seemed to have privacy.
Although this campground does have an honor box there is also a campground host which does keep track of campers and park rangers patrol throughout the day and evening to ensure safety. This makes for a very secure feeling camp in such a unique location.
If visiting call ahead to see if the cave is open. When I visited the elevators were not operating and this limited access to the cave itself.
Try hiking in the park, unlike many parks which only allow trail hiking this park encourages you to explore fully.
Keep your distance from wildlife. Wildlife is wild here even if it looks tame they are not!! Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour and most incidents with the wildlife occur from people trying to encroach upon the animals for photos.