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Wind Cave National Park & Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave National Monument [photo: NPS / Dan Austin]
Jewel Cave National Monument [photo: NPS / Dan Austin]

Wind Cave National Park

Adjacent to Custer State Park, 7 mi north of Hot Springs on US 385

The limestone cave got its name due to underground wind currents which appear because of the pressure differences in the various cave levels. In 1881 the cave was discovered, because a whistling sound appeared from the cave when air escaped or entered. This single small port only a few square centimeters in size has been enlarged and is the current entrance.

With its 82 mi the Wind Cave is one of the biggest caves with the largest number of formations in the world. It is the fourth-longest cave of the USA and the seventh-longest of the world.

Fee only charged for the the visit of the cave, not for the park in which you can observe bison, elks etc.

Cave Tour Fees vary by the different types of tours but you can expect fees between 7 to 25 Dollars.

See details on the official website: https://www.nps.gov/wica/

Camping on Elk Mountain Campground

Elk Mountain Campground, which straddles the edge of a ponderosa pine forest and open prairie, offers unique opportunities to view the diverse flora and fauna of the southern Black Hills. These first-come, first-served campsites are available in both forested and open environments.
Web: https://www.nps.gov/wica/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Another highlight of the region can be found only a few miles away from Custer:

Jewel Cave National Monument

13 mi west of Custer

This is the third longest cave in the world. More than 120 mi of corridors were measured and there should be even more. The cave got its name because of its honeycombed ‘Calcite crystals’ (calcite crystals / structures) which under illumination shine like jewels. Elevators transport visitors down, more than 90 m under the surface.
Year-round temperature in the cave: 9C (48F) with 98% humidity!

The Monument’s surface trails and facilities are available free of charge. Fees are charged for cave tours. Prices and tour descriptions can be found on the official website, see below.

Jewel Cave may only be entered on a ranger-led tour. Cave tours must have a minimum of 2 participants. Tickets are available first come, first served at the Visitor Center.

All cave tours and talks can sell out at any time of the year, especially when the daily number of tours is limited.

Web: https://www.nps.gov/jeca/

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