Caution - Roadwork on Highway 16 - Expect Delays
Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are planned during the summer. The visitor center is open daily with tours scheduled throughout the day. Come early, pm tours are usually full. 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 by September 30. The patio area outside the visitor center is planned for work in August. Signage along a service road and staff assistance will help guide visitors to the visitor center. More »
Do you have a sense of adventure?
The Spelunking Tour is offered from early June through mid-August. With hard hat secured and headlamp turned on, you are ready to experience the cave in its natural state. Feel the wind at the famous Hurricane Corner, ascend Martha's Kettle, crawl through the Roller Coaster, and squeeze into the Brain Drain. See the place where hydromagnesite balloons were first discovered, including the balloon known as the earring. In fact, if you look around, you will see hundreds of beautiful and fragile cave formations on the tour route.
At 2/3 of a mile long, the tour is a real caving adventure. You scramble over cave "breakdown," chimney between cave walls, use a handline to climb a nearly vertical wall, and belly-crawl through tight passages. Along the way you learn about low-impact caving, caving techniques and safety. The tour lasts 3-4 hours and is extremely strenuous. Anyone having a fear of closed spaces or heights should not attempt this tour.
Participants must be in good physical condition and are required to pass through an 8-1/2 inch by 24-inch crawl space before beginning the tour. Refunds are not given for those visitors unable to negotiate the block located on the patio of the visitor center. Participants must be 16 years of age or older. You are required to provide proof of age, upon request. A parent or legal guardian is required to sign, on the day of the tour, a waiver of responsibility for any 16 or 17-year-old participant.
The monument provides a hard hat and headlamp to each person taking the Spelunking Tour. Participants must provide the following: sturdy, above ankle, rubber-soled, lug-soled, lace-up boots; long pants or coveralls; a long-sleeved shirt; gloves; knee and elbow pads; a change of clothing and shoes; and a plastic bag for carrying soiled clothes and boots from the visitor center after the tour. Clean clothes and shoes must be brought to the visitor center when you check in before the tour. Clothing and footwear will be permanently stained by black manganese deposits encountered during this tour.
Reservations are required and can be made over the phone up to one month in advance. Tour size is limited to a minimum of 2 visitors and a maximum of 5 visitors. The tour ticket must be paid for at the time you make the reservation. Tours may be canceled due to lack of the required number of participants or due to emergencies at the monument. For more information about this tour you may call the visitor center at 1-605-673-8300.
Did You Know?
Jewel Cave is world renowned for its crystal-lined passages and rare cave formations such as hydromagnesite balloons and conulites.