Containing the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 37-28 million years old, the evolutionary stories of mammals such as the horse and rhinoceros arise from the 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires. Bison, bighorn sheep, endangered black-footed ferrets, and swift fox roam one of the largest, protected mixed-grass prairies in the United States.
Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Once hidden, erosion has revealed Devils Tower. This 1347 acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen. Also known as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site for many American Indians. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906.
At 142 miles, Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world. It is filled with calcite crystals and other wonders that make up the "jewels" of Jewel Cave National Monument. The current length of Jewel Cave is: 142.06 miles. On April 12, 2008 explorers spent 11.5 hours underground and mapped 694.75 feet of cave passages.
Here you will find remnants of the Cold War, including an underground launch control center and a missile silo. Minuteman missiles held the destructive power to destroy civilization as we know it. Yet the same destructive force acted as a deterrent which kept the peace for three decades. Minuteman Missile makes it possible to revisit a time when the threat of nuclear war haunted the world.
"A monument's dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated. We are not here trying to carve an epic, portray a moonlight scene, or write a sonnet; neither are we dealing with mystery or tragedy, but rather the constructive and dramatic moments or crises in our amazing history." Gutzon Borglum
One of the world's longest and most complex caves and 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest, and associated wildlife are the main features of the park. The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs. The park's mixed-grass prairie is one of the few remaining and is home to native wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs.