Basic Information

Entrance Fees:

Blunt nailhead spar calcite crystals that coat many cave passages give Jewel Cave its name.
Calcite crystals give Jewel Cave its name.

NPS photo

Jewel Cave's Underground Wilderness

Beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota lies the fascinating underground world of Jewel Cave. It delights, it perplexes, and it lures you on to further discovery and exploration. Most of the cave's chambers are decorated with calcite crystals and other beautiful, colorful, and rare formations. Caring for Jewel Cave can be a tough job. The National Park Service strives to balance the desire to enjoy the cave with the need to protect it. Before touring the cave, there are a few things you should know.

Also in this section:

Operating Hours and Seasons

Fees & Passes

Permits and Reservations

Things to Know Before You Come:

1. All cave tours are ranger guided and require a minimum of two participants. Tours offer available space for a limited number of visitors. Cave tours can sell out at any time depending on visitation.

2. All persons entering the cave are required to be screened for White Nose Syndrome (WNS), and if necessary, visitors must change their footwear or not be allowed to enter the cave.

3. The cave temperature is a constant 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). A light jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt, long pants, and low-heeled rubber-soled, closed-toe walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended.

4. Sandals, thongs, flip flops, or other shoes that are not securely fastened to the foot are not allowed on any cave tour. If questionable, park rangers may ask that you change your footwear before taking part in a cave tour.

5. Cave tours are not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia, heart or respiratory conditions, recent surgeries or illnesses, or other physical limitations. Cave tour participants, of all ages, must be able to navigate the tour route unassisted.

6. Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

7. Food, drinks, candy, gum, tobacco products, monopods, tripods, weapons, pets, large purses, handbags, large flashlights and camera bags, hiking/walking sticks/poles, strollers, diaper bags, and all backpacks - including child backpack carriers are not permitted on any cave tour.

8. Touching of the cave surfaces, features, and formations is prohibited.

9. Flash photography is allowed on the Scenic and Discovery Tours. Cameras and flashlights are not permitted on other tours.

10. There are no restroom facilities or drinking fountains in the cave.

11. Large items, such as walkers, canes, crutches, and oxygen tanks, are only allowed on the Discovery Talk, which is also wheelchair accessible.

12. No pets are allowed in the cave, with the exception of certified service dogs only on the Discovery Talk.

13. It is recommended that children ages five and under participate on Discovery Tours.

14. All cave tours and facilities require shirts and shoes for admittance.

15. To protect air quality, smoking is not permitted in the buildings, cave, or at cave entrances.

16. Cell phone reception is poor in the Black Hills and almost non-existent at Jewel Cave National Monument.

17. Pets cannot be left unattended around the visitor center parking lot, visitor facilities, or in a vehicle without proper ventilation. Pets should also not be left unattended within any vehicle during the summer season.

Last updated: November 15, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

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