• Explore and Discover One of the Last Frontiers in the World ...

    Jewel Cave

    National Monument South Dakota

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  • Caution - Roadwork on Highway 16

    Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are in progress. The Jewel Cave Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with tours scheduled throughout the day. No reservations for cave tours.

  • Highway 16 construction near Jewel Cave entrance

    Construction of Highway 16 through Jewel Cave National Monument is progressing on schedule. Motorists should use caution while traveling through the construction zone. Visitors to Jewel Cave should plan extra travel time and come early in the day. More »

  • The parking lot at Jewel Cave takes shape

    Jewel Cave's parking lot project is on schedule for completion this fall. The stairs and wheelchair ramp to the visitor center are under construction. Signage along a service road and staff assistance will help guide visitors to the visitor center. More »

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I see any bats on the tour? Unless you take the Lantern Tour, you are unlikely to see bats. This is because bats only enter the cave through the historic entrance, and usually travel no more than 1/4-mile into the cave.

How do I know if I can fit in a space 8 1/2 inches high before I make a reservation for the Spelunking Tour? Go to a doorway and measure 8 1/2 inches up from the floor. Stretch a string across the doorway at this height. Have a friend watch you crawl under this string. If you can fit under the string without pulling it off, you can fit.

Will I need a jacket? Jewel Cave is 49 degrees year round. You will be most comfortable if you wear a light jacket or sweatshirt when visiting the cave.

What kind of shoes do I need? Sneakers or hiking boots are recommended on the Scenic and Lantern Tours. You will be walking up and down over 700 stair steps on the Scenic Tour, and stoop-walking over unpaved trails on the Lantern Tour. Sandals and other open-toe shoes are not recommended. For the Spelunking Tour, boots are required.

Did You Know?

Cavers at camp site deep in Jewel Cave/NPS file photo

From the elevator entrance, it takes over 11 hours for explorers to reach unexplored sections at the end of Jewel Cave. Some survey trips require cavers to remain underground for up to 4 days.