JEWEL CAVE NATIONAL MONUMENT

About the cave

The cave was first discovered in 1900, but the entrace was to small for human beings. The entrace was made bigger so humans could enter the cave. When the first man enter the cave he discovered crawlways with calcite crystals. The crystals sparkled like jewels so you can guess why the cave was named Jewel Cave National Monument. A couple of years later the cave was made in a tourist attraction and it still is a tourist attraction. This cave is the second largest cave in the world with 160 miles of mapped passages

Things to do in Jewel Cave National Monument

If you don’t like caves you have might already have decided¬† that you don’t want to go to Jewel Cave National Monument, but there are also some activities that you could do on the surface.
-Rangers give talks and guided hiking tours. The ranger will tell you about the cave exploration, wildlife, fire ecology and wildplants.
-You could also go birdwatching. There are more than 120 birdspecies so there are a lot of birds to see. A fun thing to do is to walk one of the two different trails and combine hiking with birdwatching. At the visitor center you can get a small book about birdwatching.

Of course the big attraction is the cave and there are 4 different guided cave tours and we will describe them for you.

-The Discovery Tour. This tour takes about 20 minutes and you will only see one big room of the cave. In these 20 minutes the ranger will tell you all about the caves. This is a daily tour and it’s fun to do this short tour before you attent an other cave tour.

-The Scenic Tour. This is the most popular tour and you will visit different rooms and passages with calcite crystals in the cave. This tour takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

-The Historic Lantern Tour. This tour is more adventurous than the other two tours. This historic tour gives you an idea about how it was back in the old days to explore a cave. The tourguide is dressed in a 1930’s outfit and that makes the experience complete. This tour enters the cave by the historic entrance. The tour takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

-The Windcave Tour. This tour is given mid June through the end of August and November through early April. The Windcave Tour is the most adventurous tour because you need to crawl through small and tight spaces and the tour involves climbing with a rope. If you are afraid of small spaces you should not attempt this tour.
There are some regulations for this tour:
-You must be in good physical condition.
-You are required to pass through an 8-1/2 inch by 24 inch crawl space.
-Participants must be 16 years or older and if participants are 16 or 17 the parents must sign a waivor of responsibility.
Reservations for this tour are required.

For more information you can visit the website of Jewel Cave National Monument.

 Campground near Jewel Cave National Monument

There is a KOA campground near to the cave. It’s about 1 hour driving to the campground. The KOA campground is located in Rapid City and has everything you need when you are travelling with your RV. For more information you can visit the website of KOA Rapid City.


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