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Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

Mt. Clemens, Mi
5 posts
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Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

Hello all,

If you had only enough time to visit one of these areas, which do you suggest...and why???? Thanks in advance.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,710 posts
62 reviews
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1. Re: Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

There is really no right or wrong answer here. If you explore the forums, you will find most people will recommend Jewel Cave over Wind Cave (myself included). However, they are both spectacular and are quite different, as are all caves. I will describe them to you and hopefully my descriptions will help you decide.

Jewel Cave is much more open than Wind Cave and offers many formations including stalactites, stalagmites, cave popcorn, cave bacon, and calcite crystals. I think you will find a bigger variety of formations here than at Wind. We took the Scenic Tour, which lasts about 1.5 hours. Jewel Cave's tour has around 700 steps, but they are easily navigated. There really aren't the tight spots here as there are in other caves. It's a good cave for anyone who has a claustrophobia fear. Jewel is the 2nd longest cave in the world as far as discovered passageways; it's 2nd only to Mammoth in Kentucky.

Wind Cave is a bit more closed in and is known for a rare formation called boxwork, which resembles spiderwebs. It has the largest concentration of boxwork of any cave; one room is loaded with it and is amazing to see. We had a person on our tour who was claustrophobic and made a quick exit. It wasn't for him. This was no problem, as he got his money refunded. There are about 500 steps here, and the Fairgrounds Tour also lasts about 1.5 hours. Wind Cave is a national park that also offers surface activities. The park joins Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop. Jewel Cave has national monument status and has no surface activities other than the visitor's center.

For pictures of formations for each cave, be sure to visit nps.gov and visit both caves' websites. This may also help you decide.

If you plan on visiting Jewel, definitely make advance reservations, as tours seem to sell out more quickly there than at Wind.

I will tell you what I tell everyone. If there's any way you can fit both caves in, I'd strongly recommend it so you don't have to decide between the 2. Many think all caves are created equal, and they really are different in so many ways.

I hope this helps some. Let us know if you have more questions.

Mt. Clemens, Mi
5 posts
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2. Re: Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

WOW...yes that helps! Thank you so much for the info. I'll try to fit both in.

Do you know if either cave has any type of spelunking tours for the more adventurous?

Thanks

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,710 posts
62 reviews
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3. Re: Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

Hi,

Yes, both caves have spelunking tours. Here's some links for information:

Wind Cave's Wild Cave Tour

nps.gov/wica/planyourvisit/tour-caving.htm

Jewel Cave's Spelunking Tour:

nps.gov/jeca/planyourvisit/spelunkingtour.htm

I see that Jewel only offers their spelunking tour through mid August, so if you are visiting soon, you won't be able to take a wilder cave tour here.

Wind doesn't have any wild cave tours listed on their current schedule, but you will see a number to call for a reservation. I am sure they will tell you if any are available in the fall.

Good luck, and have fun planning!

Mt. Clemens, Mi
5 posts
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4. Re: Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

Thank you for the info, very helpful!

5. Re: Wind Cave vs. Jewell Cave???

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