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

    Jewel Cave

    National Monument South Dakota

Discovery Tour

\\Inpjeca20089513\public drive\JECA - Website Materials and Information\Target Room Platform (Eric Dodd)

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?

Cavers at camp site deep in Jewel Cave/NPS file photo

From the elevator entrance, it takes over 11 hours for explorers to reach unexplored sections at the end of Jewel Cave. Some survey trips require cavers to remain underground for up to 4 days.