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 »
NPS Photo - Eric Dodd
The Scenic Tour is the most popular tour of Jewel Cave.
The Scenic Tour route provides an opportunity to visit various cave chambers and passages decorated with calcite crystals and other speleothems. This tour is considered a modern day walking tour along a paved trail with electric lighting. The tour enters and leaves the cave by elevator in the Visitor Center. The Scenic Tour is moderately strenuous and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The tour route involves walking up and down 723 stair steps along a 1/2 mile loop, (equivalent to 40 flights of stairs). During the Scenic Tour, you see two types of calcite crystals known as nailhead spar and dogtooth spar, which are the "jewels" of Jewel Cave. In addition, you can view boxwork, cave popcorn, flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and a long ribbon drapery called the cave bacon. With each visit, you will learn more about the cave formations, discovery and continuous exploration.
Come prepared to tour Jewel Cave, wear low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes or hiking boots, and a light jacket or sweater. Close-toed shoes are highly recommended. The cave temperature is 49 degrees Fahrenheit or 9 degrees Celsius year-round. Persons who have heart or respiratory conditions, foot or lower joint problems, have recently been hospitalized, have a fear of heights or elevators should talk with a park ranger before selecting this tour.
There is a limit of 30 participants on each Scenic Tour. This tour will frequently sell out during holidays, spring breaks, and the summer months. Please call ahead for tour availability and check the daily tour schedule before your visit to Jewel Cave.
Did You Know?
Jewel Cave National Monument is home to nine bat species, including the rare Townsend’s big-eared bat. Some bats that roost outside in the summer hibernate in the cave during winter.