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 - cave tour schedules
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 cave visitors will walk across a decontamination mat when exiting the cave to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is a bat disease. Jewel Cave has been identified as a WNS-positive site. For this reason, visitors are advised that other cave sites may not allow them to enter another cave with any item that has been inside Jewel Cave. Furthermore, footwear, clothing, or gear worn in Jewel Cave will NOT be allowed on the Candlelight and Wild Cave Tours at nearby Wind Cave National Park.
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.
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.
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 Talks.
14. All cave tours and facilities require shirts and shoes for admittance.
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: May 22, 2020