• 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 - Expect Delays

    Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are planned during this summer season. The visitor center will be open daily, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tours are scheduled throughout the day. No reservations for cave tours. 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?

Calcite Spar Crystal/NPS file photo

The “jewels” of Jewel Cave are calcite spar crystals. Calcite, which is about as hard as your fingernail, is too soft to be considered a true jewel.