Jewel Cave National Monument
Beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota is the intriguing underground world of Jewel Cave. With 160 miles of explored passageways, Jewel Cave ranks as the second longest cave in the world. The cave was discovered at the turn of the century by brothers passing through Hell Canyon. On February 7, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the site a national monument. At this time only a few of the cave’s wonders had been discovered. Less than one mile of passage was known. The primary attractions were chambers lined with jewel-like crystals. Exploration continues to reveal hidden miles of passages beneath the Black Hills.
Cave tours provide opportunities for viewing this pristine cave system filed with calcite crystals and other wonders such as stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, frostwork, boxwork, flowstone and hydromagnesite balloons.
Jewel Cave National Monument Tours and Fees
Jewel Cave National Monument is open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day. The monument's surface trails and facilities are available free of charge. Fees are charged for cave tours. Jewel Cave is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jewel Cave National Monument Programs, Facilities and Services
In addition to the cave tours and Discovery Talk, there are many opportunities for exploring the surface of Jewel Cave National Monument. The 1,279-acre park is located in a Ponderosa pine forest.
What You Should Know When Visiting Jewel Cave National Monument
When visiting Jewel Cave National Monument there are a few things visitors should keep in mind. All cave tours are considered moderate to strenuous and The Discovery Talk is the only handicap accessible tour. Oxygen tanks are only allowed on the Discovery Tour. Cave tours are not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia, heart or respiratory problems, recent surgeries or illnesses and/or other physical limitations.
For further details on the science and nature of Jewel Cave, visit Jewel Cave National Park Website. Also visit nearby Custer State Park, Crazy Horse and Custer.