• 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 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 »

Things To Do

Surface Activities

In addition to the cave tours, there are many opportunities for exploring on the surface at Jewel Cave National Monument. The 1279 acre park is located in a Ponderosa pine forest. The Jasper Fire of August 24, 2000 has changed the scenery of the Monument but it is an opportunity to see first hand the forest recovery process. For more information on this fire see our fire page.

Ranger Programs

A variety of talks, demonstrations and guided nature hikes are offered on the surface. Program topics include cave exploration, wildlife, fire ecology, Jasper Fire, wildflowers and plants of the area, and other subjects. Programs are regularly scheduled from mid-June through mid-August, and may be offered throughout the rest of the year. There are no fees for these programs.

Wildflower Viewing

There are 393 documented plant species at Jewel Cave National Monument. Wildflowers are commonly seen in bloom near the visitor center, at the historic area, and along all surface trails. Enjoy the flowers - look at them, smell them, compare them, sketch them, photograph them - but please do not pick or otherwise disturb them! See the wildflower page for a selection of our flowers.

Bird Watching

The bird list contains 120 species of birds seen at the Monument. Some are abundant, like the red-breasted nuthatch, while others, like the bald eagle, are uncommon but are seen occasionally. Pick up a list at the visitor center or print one from the website and watch for birds while you enjoy the hiking trails.


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.