November 1 - Change in Hours of Operation and Tour Schedule
The visitor center will be open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed on weekends). Guided cave tours will only be available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of each week. Tours will not be available on Mondays and Tuesdays. More »
Public Feedback Requested
Jewel Cave National Monument is requesting public feedback for the proposed fee increases of cave tour tickets in 2014. Visit the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website for more information or to provide comments. More »
It might seem that the cave is isolated from the surface world, and that our activities above the cave would have little or no effect on the cave below. However, that is not entirely true. Wherever moisture from rainfall or snow melt is able to seep underground, a connection is made between the surface and the cave.
Jewel Cave National Monument strives to maintain the natural quality and quantity of water entering the cave, but the infrastructure that has provided opportunities for park visitors (the parking lot, visitor center, restrooms, administrative facilities, etc.) has in some cases changed the natural hydrology.
Developed areas cause runoff, which redirects water. Some areas of the cave may now be wetter than they were naturally, and others may be drier. Such changes in hydrologic patterns can have an effect on how and where speleothems (cave formations) will grow.
Forested areas above Jewel Cave typically direct less water into the cave than open, grassy areas. This is because trees use more rainwater than grasses do. The Jasper Fire killed many pine trees, and as a result, more rain water is expected to enter the cave.
The fire opened up the meadows to native plants such as blanketflowers, purple coneflowers, and western wheatgrass. Unfortunately, the fire-disturbed land also encouraged the growth of exotic plants such as common mullein and Canada thistle.
Did You Know?
Cave explorers at Jewel Cave National Monument always abide by the rule of three: Carry at least 3 independent sources of light, cave with at least 3 people in your group, and maintain 3 points of contact with the rock when climbing.