Walkway to Delta 01

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

The Minuteman Missile Historic Site is a very unique place to visit. During the Cold War, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) were hidden throughout the Great Plains. Air Force personnel were stationed in launch control facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nuclear missiles could be launched at a moment’s notice.

Outside the Gate of the Launch Control Center at the Minuteman Missile Silo

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves a decommissioned missile silo and launch control facility in South Dakota. And, it is open to visitors. I think this is WAY COOL!

Getting There

The Minuteman Missile Historic Site is located near Philip, South Dakota. We stopped on our way from Custer State Park to Badlands National Park.

The site actually consists of three separate locations: The Minuteman Missile Visitor Center, Launch Control Facility Delta-01, and Launch Facility Delta-09 (Missile Silo).

From the visitor center, it is about a 5-mile drive west on Interstate 90 to the launch control facility and then another 10 miles on Interstate 90 to the missile silo.

Minuteman Missile Silo National Historic Site Visitor Center
The Visitor Center

Launch Control Facility Delta-01

If it weren’t for the security fence, this house might just look like an ordinary home. However, this unassuming structure housed a Launch Control Facility. Air Force personnel charged with guarding and overseeing 10 missile silos lived and worked here.

Outside the Launch Control Center Delta 01 building which personnel
Launch Control Center

While the facility topside looks relatively standard, the Launch Control Center (LCC) was anything but. Located 31 feet below the ground, two missileers behind an 8-ton blast door sat ready to launch if called upon.

Surface Above the Launch Control Center
The Launch Control Facility Located Beneath the Ground
  • Restroom at Delta 01
  • Delta 01 Station Behind the Gate

Launch Facility Delta-09 (Missile Silo)

Hidden in the middle of a pasture is Launch Facility Delta-09, a missile silo. A short walk through a few gates, and you’ll be able to look down into the silo and see a missile.

Sidewalk and gate leading to Delta 09

Delta-09 is just one of the 150 missiles scattered throughout South Dakota from 1963 to the early 1990s. WOW!

Sign with map of Delta 09 at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
The missile silo at Minuteman National Historic Site
Peek Inside the Delta 09 Missile Silo

Minuteman Missile Tours

I really love a tour, particularly one of a historical site. Fortunately, the Minuteman Missile site has three tour options: a guided tour, audio tours, and virtual tours.

The Soft Support Building at Delta 09 Housed Support Equipment

On-site guided tours are available. However, you should make reservations well in advance. We tried unsuccessfully to get reservations for two different trips.

The second option is the audio tour. The audio tour includes both the missile silo and the launch facility. We took this tour during our visit.

The Personnel Hatch for Maintenance at Delta 09

The easiest way to tour the site is the virtual tour. This tour offers fantastic 360-degree access to the site.

Antenna Surrounded by Concrete at Delta 09

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is a great place to really understand the Cold War’s significance and the proverbial bullet we all dodged. It truly brings history to life.

The 60 ft Missile at Delta 09

If you’re road tripping across South Dakota, be sure to check out my other articles on South Dakota including the Corn Palace.

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