There’s something different, and amazing, about these caves in South Dakota. Entering them is as if you’re entering another dimension. The formations and visuals of the caves will fascinate and WOW anyone. All of them are open for tours and visits, so if you haven’t gone yet, you should. Add these to your bucket list if you’re interested in seeing some out-of-this-world natural underground wonders:
1. Rushmore Cave, Keystone
This complex cave was originally discovered in 1876 when miners working in the area spilled a supply of water and saw the water dripping into holes in the side of a hill. The curious miners explored the cave but were disappointed to find it was limestone, which never contains any gold, and left it. The locals, however, became interested in it and ventured into it themselves. Later, it became open for tours to see the many large rooms that are connected throughout the cave. This cave also includes some of the world's only boxwork formations as well as many other cave features like stalactites and stalagmites.
2. Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs
This cave in Custer was the first cave to ever be named a national park anywhere in the world and is also considered one of the longest and most complex caves discovered. One unique feature of the cave, shown, is the "boxwork" formation made from calcite. 95% of the worlds boxwork formations are found in Wind Cave, making it an extremely rare occurrence that South Dakota can claim as its own.
3. Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns, Rapid City
This magnificent limestone cave is hidden among Rockerville Gulch, a red rock canyon near Rapid City. The caves themselves have been host to tours and a Sioux Indian Pageant since the 1930s to teach visitors about the Lakota culture. It's right on the way to Mt. Rushmore and would make a perfect stop if you're taking a trip there. Keep in mind it is only open for daily tours from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year.
4. Wonderland Caves, Nemo
The amazing formations of Dogtooth Crystal columns, stalagmites, and stalactites that fill the Wonderland Caves really make the name fit. Though there is evidence of early Native Americans in the cave, it wasn't really discovered until 1929. The first explorers set out for gold possibly hiding within but came back empty handed and decided to transform it into a place open for tours in 1930, and has been open ever since. There you can see one of the largest varieties of crystal formations in a single cave.
5. Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer
Jewel Cave in Custer, South Dakota is the third longest cave in the entire world. Over 180 miles of mapped tunnels are included in the cave and that's not even all of it. The discovered sections of the cave only account for an estimated 3-5% of the entire area that is open to air. Tons of cave formations line the walls including an extremely rare one called a hydromagnesite balloon. It really is a sight to see!
Aren’t these caves crazy? Yet fascinatingly beautiful in their own unique ways! Have you ever been to any of these yourself? They just make me want to go out and explore the many interesting wonders hiding all around South Dakota.
Here are some more awesome spots that will get your adventurous side excited and ready to go.