Top Ten U.S. Caves
With more than 160 miles surveyed, Jewel Cave is recognized as the third-longest cave in the world and the second longest in the United States. Airflow within the passageways of this complex labyrinth indicates a vast area yet to be explored. Just to reach the unmapped, southeastern area, surveyors must make a six-hour trek, and the only way to move toward the unexplored passages is through the Mini-Miseries, so named for its 600 feet of belly-crawling.
Jewel Cave tours range from scenic walks to strenuous wild caving. Regardless of route, visitors have the chance to explore a pristine cave system and see its wide variety of rock formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, frostwork, flowstone, boxwork, and hydromagnesite balloons. Jewel Cave is also an important winter residence for several species of bats.
Just the Facts
Open: All year
Cave temperature: 49° Fahrenheit year-round
Location: Southwest South Dakota, in the Black Hills
For more information: Call Jewel Cave National Monument at (605) 673-2288 or visit www.nps.gov/jeca
Explore Jewel Cave National Monument
Explore nearby Wind Cave National Park
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication