Wind Cave National Park shares a northern border with Custer State Park in the Black Hills. Visitors can see bison and pronghorn, while traversing scenery ranging from flat prairies to forested mountains and canyons.
The Beaver Creek Bridge provides an essential link between the parks across a steep canyon.
“What’s cool about this bridge, it’s such a secluded spot,” Tom Farrell, chief of interpretation, said from a lookout along Highway 87 in Wind Cave.
Across the valley, the bridge’s white arches and columns rise from the rocky, forested edges of a canyon. It spans more than 200 feet across the canyon and more than 100 feet above Beaver Creek.
“You can come out and watch it, you can hear Beaver Creek in the distance below it and just this white, expanse of concrete that’s aged out over the years, that just stands there as a silent sentinel between these two canyons making sure people can cross the canyon,” Farrell said.
Visitors might miss out on the bridge if they don’t stop at the vista or explore around the structure itself.
“It’s easy to overlook because you just drive over it,” Farrell said. “But if you stop and pause and take a look, you realize this is a special place. And you spend a little bit of time here just listening to the river underneath and watching the bridge, you kind of get the impression what an interesting, special, unique place this is.”
Highway 87 is closed from the lookout to the intersection north of Rankin Ridge until crews finish renovating the bridge in mid-October.