Discovery Talk

View of the visitor platform in the Target Room in Jewel Cave.  The Discovery Talk takes place here.
Target Room of Jewel Cave where the Discovery Talk takes place.

NPS Photo - Eric Dodd

The Discovery Talk 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 Talk is wheelchair accessible for people who have trouble negotiating stairs, and the tour is limited to 20 participants.

During the Discovery Talk, you will see two types of calcite crystals commonly named nailhead spar and dogtooth spar, which are the "jewels" of Jewel Cave. You will 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.

Children of all ages are allowed on the Discovery Talk. Families are encouraged to check the tour schedule before arriving to Jewel Cave.

Last updated: March 9, 2016

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Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

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