• 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 »

Fees & Reservations

The Monument's surface trails and facilities are available free of charge. Fees are charged for cave tours. Ticket prices and tour descriptions are listed below.


  • Tour tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Jewel Cave National Monument.
  • Tickets must be purchased ten to fifteen minutes before the scheduled tour time.
  • There are no reservations taken for the Scenic, Discovery, and Historic Lantern Tours.
  • Due to safety concerns for both staff and visitors, each cave tour offers limited space.
  • Teachers may call the Visitor Center to inquire about educational programs and academic fee waivers.


Scenic Cave Tour - Ticket Prices

  • $12.00 - Adult age 17 & over
  • $8.00 - Youth ages 6-16
  • Free - Child ages 5 & under (must have a ticket)
  • $6.00 - Golden Age/Senior/Access Adult (pass holder only)
  • $4.00 - Access Youth (pass holder only) 16 years of age or younger
  • The Interagency Annual Pass / Military Pass / Volunteer Pass are not valid for this tour.

Scenic Tour Details: Scenic Tours are offered year-round. This tour is moderately strenuous and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. The tour enters and leaves the cave by elevator in the visitor center. The tour route involves walking up and down 723 stair steps along a 1/2 mile loop trail. This tour provides an opportunity to visit chambers decorated with calcite crystals and other speleothems as you walk along a paved trail with electric lighting. Scenic Tours are limited to 30 people per tour.

Discovery Talk - Ticket Prices

  • $4.00 - Adult age 17 & over
  • Free - Youth ages 6-16
  • Free - Child ages 5 & under
  • Free - Golden Age/Senior/Access pass holder and 3 persons (16 yrs. and older)
  • Free - Annual Pass/Military Pass/Volunteer Pass owners plus 3 adults
  • Tickets are required to enter Jewel Cave. Present photo ID and pass to receive tickets.

Discovery Talk Details: This 20-minute program is a brief introduction to Jewel Cave's natural and cultural histories. The Discovery Talk is offered year-round, and is limited to 20 people. Participants view one large room of the cave. This easy cave visit enters and exits the cave by elevator, and involves walking up and down 15 stair steps. The Discovery program is recommended for families with young children, and visitors with limited time or health concerns. This talk takes place in the cave's Target Room which is accessible to visitors with limited mobility.

Historic Lantern Tour - Ticket Prices

  • $12.00 - Adult age 17 & over
  • $8.00 - Youth ages 6-16
  • $6.00 - Golden Age/Senior/Access Adult (pass holder only)
  • $4.00 - Access Youth (pass holder only) - age 6 to 16
  • The minimum age allowed is 6 years old.
  • The Interagency Annual Pass / Military Pass / Volunteer Pass are not valid for this tour.

Lantern Tour Details: Available from the second full week of June through Labor Day. The Lantern Tour is a 1940's style adventure. Visitors, carrying lanterns provided by the Monument, enter and exit the cave through the historic entrance. This tour is considered strenuous and lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes. The tour route is approximately 1/2 mile long and includes steep, narrow wooden steps (about 600). Visitors must be in good health and physical condition. The tour requires bending, stooping, duck walking, and navigation of steep wooden ladders. The Lantern Tour is limited to 20 people per tour.

Wild Caving Tour - Ticket Prices

  • $31.00 - Adult age 16 & over
  • $15.50 - Golden Age/Senior/Access Adult (pass holder only)
  • The Interagency Annual Pass / Military Pass / Volunteer Pass are not valid for this tour.
  • The minimum participant age allowed is 16 years old. Proof of age may be required.
  • A parent or legal guardian, of a 16 or 17 yr. old, is required to sign a permission waiver.

Wild Caving Tour Details: Available during the summer season (June through August), and during the off-season (November through March). This tour is designed for visitors who want the thrill of experiencing the cave in its natural state. Participants scramble over cave "breakdown," chimney between cave walls, climb semi-vertical rocks (rope-assisted climbs), and belly crawl through tight passages. Participants are required to fit through a passage 8 1/2 inches high by 24 inches wide before attempting this tour.

Along a 2/3 mile route, visitors learn about low-impact caving, caving techniques, safety, and caving equipment. The tour lasts 3 to 4 hours, and is considered extremely strenuous. Participants must be 16 years of age or older, and in good health and physical condition. Participants must provide and wear above the ankle, lug-soled, lace-up leather boots; soft elbow and knee pads; gloves; long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. We do not provide this equipment. Clothes and boots may be permanently stained with manganese.

The Monument provides a hardhat and headlamp only. Tours may be cancelled due to lack of required participants; due to emergencies at the Monument; and/or lack of proper caving equipment. Tour size is limited to a minimum of 2 visitors and a maximum of 5 visitors during the summer season. NOTE: There is a minimum of 4 participants required for each tour offered during the off-season. Reservations are required for this tour and can be made 2 - 28 days in advance of the scheduled tour date. During the call, have a credit card ready, name of participants, phone number, and email address. This call will take approx. 10 minutes to complete.

Did You Know?

Red squirrel sitting on a branch/NPS file photo

Red squirrels can be seen year round in Jewel Cave National Monument harvesting pine cones from ponderosa pine trees.