• 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 this spring season. The visitor center will be open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and closed on weekends through April. No reservations for cave tours. More »

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?

Fire at Jewel Cave/NPS file photo

In 2000, the Jasper Fire burned over 90% of the surface of Jewel Cave National Monument. Fortunately, the Visitor Center and other buildings on the Monument were saved.