Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 4; Wind Cave National Park

The morning after arriving in the Black Hills I headed about 18 miles south of Custer on US Route 385 to Wind Cave National Park.






This blog entry is the fourth in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series.  The previous entry can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 3; the long road to the Black Hills

Given that all the Jewel Cave tours were full the previous day I made sure to show up early to the Wind Cave given they were also on a first-come/first-serve system.  Luckily it was a nice day out in the prairies south of the Black Hills with pleasant morning weather just off the side of US 385.





The Wind Cave was the first cavern based National Park anywhere in the world when it became the 7th U.S. National Park in 1903.  The Wind Cave system was first discovered by white settlers in 1881 and is currently the 6th longest known cave system at approximately 140 miles of explored passageways.  The Wind Cave is mostly known for having about 95% of the known calcite formations called boxwork.

The first two photos I'm to understand were the initial entrance used by settlers to enter the Wind Cave.  The third photo if I recall correctly was the first man-made entrance to the Wind Cave.










The modern Wind Cave entrance is a wide doorway that descends a large stairwell.





Out of all the cavern based National Parks (excluding National Monuments I haven't been to) the only one that doesn't require a tour is Carlsbad Caverns.  I suspect the boxwork formations are a likely target for theft and vandalism.







After leaving the Wind Cave I headed north on US 385 to South Dakota State Route 87 on the Needles Highway.  My path back north through the Black Hills was through Custer State Park.  The next entry on SD 87 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 5; South Dakota State Route 87 and the Needles Highway

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 88 the Carson Pass Highway

Between 2016 and 2017 I drove the majority of California State Route 88 from CA 99 in Stockton east over Carson Pass to CA 89.






CA 88 is a 122 mile state highway from CA 99 in Stockton east over the Sierra Nevada Range to the continuation route Nevada State Route 88 at the Nevada State Line.  CA 88 is known as the Carson Pass Highway.  Carson Pass at 8,574 feet above sea level along CA 88 is an all-year Mountain Pass in the Sierras and on occasion designated as Temporary US Route 50 when conditions are bad over Echo Summit. 

CA 88 was not one of the original Signed State Highways.  CA 8 was the original designation over Carson Pass which can be seen on the 1938 California State Highway Map.

1938 State Highway Map

CA 8 was substantially different than CA 88 west of Jackson as it largely follows the current route of CA 26.  From US 99E in 1934 and later US 50/99 in 1936 from Stockton CA 8 originally used the following route to reach Jackson:

-  Legislative Route 5 from US 99 in Stockton …

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 41 north to CA 16)

Last year I traveled California State Route 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89 in one continuous trip.  This year and in early 2016 I traveled the rest of CA 49 south to CA 41 in Oakhurst.  This blog post consists of photos of the highway from those time periods and historical information about the southern part of CA 49.


This blog post is meant to be a continuation of the previous one I did regarding CA 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89.  A link to said blog post can be found below:

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 16 north to CA 89)

As stated in the previous blog post; CA 49 is an approximately 295 mile long north/south highway which traverses the traditional Gold Rush Country of California.  While I intend to discuss county level historical alignments of CA 49 as I did in the first blog post I thought this would be a good place to discuss the backstory of highway.

CA 49 was first signed in 1934 along a series of Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") that were large…

Caliente-Bodfish Road/Kern County Road 483

Back in 2016 I took Caliente-Bodfish Road south towards California State Route 58 while leaving the Sierra Nevada Range after looking for the town site of Old Kernville.






Caliente-Bodfish Road is also known as Kern County Road 483 which I believe is an internal designation for mountainous roadways within the Sierra Nevada Range.  Caliente-Bodfish Road begins at Kern Canyon Road (Old California State Route 178) at the southern extent of Bodfish and climbs over the southern most extent of the Sierra Nevada Range approximately 35 miles to Bena Road near Caliente.  Caliente-Bodfish Road is a full two-lane road despite traversing some narrow terrain in the Sierras.  The high point on Caliente-Bodfish Road appeared to be near 4,000 feet above sea-level and I would estimate that there grades as high as 10% in places.

South of Bodfish Caliente-Bodfish Road ascends quickly above the community on a series of switchbacks.  There is no official overlook but there is a hell of a view of Bodfish an…