Crystal Caverns – Crystal Cave

NOTICE: Please note that Crystal Cave Park is now currently closed to the public.

Crystal Caverns encompasses a series of caves located near Rapid City, South Dakota. Crystal Cave Park and Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern are two privately owned caves that are part of the Crystal Cavern network.

Crystal Cave Park, located one mile west of Rapid City, offers the least strenuous cave tour in the area. Glinting crystals coat over eighty percent of the cave’s ceilings and walls, and the cave showcases sixteen types of rock formations. Visitors to the cave can view rare birdbath formations, dogtooth spar, popcorn calcite, and boxwork.

Known to Indians for more than one thousand years, Crystal Cave was discovered by white men in 1880. To date, the cave’s end has not yet been discovered. Tours of Crystal Cave run from May through September. The cave’s interior is a cool 49 degrees, and a light jacket is recommended. In addition to the cave tours, Crystal Cave features a half-mile nature trail leading to a wonderfully replicated Indian Village.

Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern is located ten miles south of Rapid City. Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern is noted for having the world’s most extensive dogtooth spar crystal formations, and for its fossils of prehistoric sea life. Diamond Lake reflects the massive crystals coating the cave’s ceiling. Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern is known for its French Chandelier Room, Crystal Palace Room, and Rainbow Arch.

Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern was discovered in 1876. In 1929, Alex and Marie Duhamel and their sons Bud and Pete began exploring and developing the cave. In 1930, the cave was officially opened to the public. In an effort to attract tourism to the site, the Duhamels solicited help from their friend Black Elk, a Lakota Sioux medicine man. With the assistance of Black Elk, a Sioux Indian Pageant was organized. The pageant was held near the cave, and offered educational and cultural demonstrations. The demonstration increased the flow of visitors to the area, and helped Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern flourish. Today, Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern is owned and operated by Alex and Marie’s grandson. Tours of Sitting Bull Crystal Cavern are available May through September. A light jacket and comfortable walking shoes are recommended for visitors.

Categories: Things to Do, Western SD

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