Rankin Ridge Nature Trail

Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, Wind Cave National Park: Address, Phone Number, Rankin Ridge Nature Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Rankin Ridge Nature Trail
4.5
Write a review
About
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Popular mentions

4.5
34 reviews
Excellent
19
Very good
11
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
1

lynn h
Saint Louis, MO49 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
The trail is well marked. Nice, gradual elevation gain, not too strenuous. The pay off is the great view from the top. If it’s a clear day, don’t forget to look in the distance at the Badlands.
Written 5 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Grover R
Pensacola, FL15 275 contributions
Sep 2021
We had really wanted to hike this trail and view the plains from this ridge for wildlife. Unfortunately in September 2021, the road between the Wind Cave Visitor's Center and Rankin Ridge is closed. I strongly suggest you check with NPS when it will be reopened before going. The only paved connections between the two will add hours of travel time. It was the only real disappointment of our Dakotas trip.
Written 20 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Aslan's Traveler
Burnsville, MN517 contributions
Jun 2021
This is not too difficult of a hike, but does have some elevation--guessing 200-300 ft gain. But it is well worth if for views that seem to stretch forever.
Written 31 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

joedirte12
West New York, NJ62 contributions
Jul 2021
The view from the top is great and worth the hike up. It took us about an hour total round trip. Nothing too technical on the trail.

We did this hike while we waited for the cave tour.
Written 29 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ELKW
United States11 496 contributions
Aug 2020
it's one of the trail in the Wind Cave National park, there is no admission fee to the park if you just walk the trails.it's not difficult but rocky towards the top. It's about 1 mile with 14 check-points. The top of the trail has a lookout tower, but you can't go up the tower, anyway, you can take a look of the view there. You can walk another path to go down to the parking place. This area has prairie dogs, when we drive to and from this point, we saw lots of them, and you can see their burrows when you walk up the trail and looking at the plain.
Written 23 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jim B
111 contributions
Oct 2020 • Family
The hike itself has a decent hill but isn’t too difficult. It was snowing during our visit so the views were obscured some but on a clear day you can see all the way to the Badlands.
Written 18 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

OSU_Fan1967
Dublin, OH280 contributions
Jul 2019 • Family
Nice, easy hike with great views. Definitely recommend this hike! Watch for the prairie dog town as you drive near the trail head - fun and entertaining diversion!
Written 1 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Steve5863
Avon, OH13 020 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
With the name Wind Cave National Park, many assume that the cave is the primary feature of the park but the rolling prairie full of wildlife is equally special and many people find this to be their favorite part of the park. Any visit to Wind Cave must include some time viewing the wildlife along the park’s roads and should include at least a short hike of which, Rankin Ridge Nature Trail is the best.

Located in the northwest corner of the park, the trailhead is located across from the parking lot at the end of a short spur road to the east off of Hwy 87. The easy 1 mile (1.6k) loop trail should be done in a clockwise direction as the climb to the top of the ridge is very gradual in this direction and follows the interpretation of the trail guide which can be downloaded in advance or picked-up from the box at the trailhead.

The beginning of the hike starts with a gradual uphill walk through a forested area with some good views to the west. One may also notice that the ground sparkles in the sun along this portion of the trail as the many bits of mica glisten in the sun. As one approaches the summit of the ridge, the trail turns sharply to the right and the forest becomes more open supporting an area where wildflowers flourish. Shortly after the turn, the trail traverses the summit of the ridge with excellent views to the east and, on a clear day, the Badlands can be seen on the horizon. At the fire tower (closed to visitors), the trail follows the gravel access road back down, steeply in places, to the trailhead parking lot; along this part of the trail, take note of the colorful, moisture loving lichen and there are even a few trees with Spanish moss hanging in the branches.
Written 3 February 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

hilo88
Honolulu, HI352 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
My family did the Natural Entrance Tour, but my favorite part about Wind Cave National Park was the drive to and the hike to Rankin Ridge (near the northernmost part of the park).

The drive is really nice. You see lots of hills and praries and prarie dogs and bison. We saw a few just walking across the road and one standing right next to one of the National Park display signs.

The hike up the Ridge is great too. The trail itself is one mile long. It starts off gradually going uphill. I’m in no way in top shape but the hike up was pretty easy. Just take your time. And FYI, this is NOT paved.

When you get to the top near an old watch tower (which you can’t go up), you get some really beautiful views. Really beautiful.

You just continue to the walk and you head back down to the parking lot.

There is just one trail so you can’t really get lost. This whole thing took us less than an hour and we had a 70 year old, a 60 year old, and a baby. It’s totally doable and worth the time. Remember, Wind Cave National Park isn’t just all about that caves.
Written 21 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bden99
Manchester, NH1 168 contributions
Aug 2018
This is a short hike with great views with minimal effort. It is recommended to hike in a clockwise direction, as you are doing the rocky side on the uphill. The trail features some great stonework up towards the top. Once up top you can see into the badlands area on a clear day.
Written 31 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 34
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing