The park offers five different cave tours during the summer (a total of 30 tours per day) and one tour the remainder of the year. Adventurous cavers should consider the two tours limited to 10 people each; these will definitely take them away from the crowds.
The Garden of Eden Tour -- Entering and leaving Wind Cave by an elevator, this 1-hour tour takes participants past representative cave features. It's the park's least strenuous tour, climbing 150 stairs.
Natural Entrance Tour -- Beginning at the walk-in entrance to the cave and leaving by elevator, this moderately strenuous 75-minute tour has 300 stairs (though most of these are down) and leads visitors through the middle of the cave, with an abundance of "boxwork" -- thin blades of calcite that project from the cave's walls and ceiling in a honeycomb pattern.
Fairgrounds Tour -- This includes some of the larger rooms found in the developed area of the cave. Participants view many cave formations, including boxwork. The tour enters and exits by elevator. This moderately strenuous excursion has 450 stairs and lasts 90 minutes.
Candlelight Tour -- This is one of the most popular tours, especially for children 8 and over. Trekking through a less-developed, unlighted section of the cave, tour participants carry a candle bucket and experience the cave by candlelight. Shoes with nonslip soles are required; no sandals are allowed. This strenuous 2-hour tour is limited to 10 people (minimum age is 8) and covers 1 mile of rugged trail. Reservations, available no more than 1 month before the tour, are strongly advised (tel. 605/745-4600).
Wild Cave Tour -- You can also explore Wind Cave away from the established trails. On this 4-hour adventure, visitors are introduced to basic, safe caving practices. You need to wear old clothes and gloves, since much of the tour is spent crawling. Long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and sturdy, lace-up boots or shoes with nonslip soles are a must. The park provides hard hats, lights, and kneepads. Do not bring or wear jewelry, watches, or other valuables. This tour is limited to 10 people and the minimum age is 16. (Signed consent forms from a parent or guardian are required for 16- and 17-year-olds.) Reservations, which are available 1 month before the tour, are required (tel. 605/745-4600).
Tours for People with Disabilities -- The visitor center and the cave are accessible to people with limited mobility. Call (tel. 605/745-4600) to make arrangements or inquire about a special tour at the information desk. Some areas of the cave are accessible to wheelchairs. Fees are charged for special services.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.