• Explore and Discover One of the Last Frontiers in the World ...

    Jewel Cave

    National Monument South Dakota

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  • Caution - Roadwork on Highway 16 - Expect Delays

    Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are planned during the summer. The visitor center is open daily with tours scheduled throughout the day. Come early, pm tours are usually full. No reservations for cave tours.

  • Highway 16 construction near Jewel Cave entrance

    Construction of Highway 16 through Jewel Cave National Monument is progressing on schedule. Motorists should use caution while traveling through the construction zone. Visitors to Jewel Cave should plan extra travel time and come early in the day. More »

  • The parking lot at Jewel Cave takes shape

    Jewel Cave's parking lot project is on schedule for completion by September 30. The patio area outside the visitor center is planned for work in August. Signage along a service road and staff assistance will help guide visitors to the visitor center. More »

Discovery Tour

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Target Room of Jewel Cave where the Discovery Tour / Ranger Talk takes place.

NPS Photo - Eric Dodd

The Discovery Tour is an excellent short visit to Jewel Cave.

This 20-minute ranger talk is a brief introduction to Jewel Cave's natural and cultural histories. Participants view one large room of the cave. This easy cave visit enters and exits the cave by elevator in the Visitor Center, and involves walking up and down 15 stair steps. The Discovery Tour is wheelchair accessible for people who have trouble negotiating stairs, and the tour is limited to 20 participants.

During the Discovery Tour, you see two types of calcite crystals commonly named nailhead spar and dogtooth spar, which are the "jewels" of Jewel Cave. You also see manganese and paleofill, which are not cave formations, but are important to the geology of Jewel Cave. Visitors will learn the theory on how Jewel Cave formed as well as how the cave was discovered in 1900.

Did You Know?

Bats on the cave ceiling/NPS file photo

Jewel Cave National Monument is home to nine bat species, including the rare Townsend’s big-eared bat. Some bats that roost outside in the summer hibernate in the cave during winter.