Fees & Passes

Walkway inside Jewel Cave
Walkway inside Jewel Cave.

NPS Staff Photo

Fees are only charged for cave tours, and tickets are required to enter the cave. Due to limited space on each cave tour, advanced ticket reservations are highly recommended. Jewel Cave National Monument offers advanced ticket sales for a limited number of cave tours. Advanced sales are only available for the Scenic Tour and are offered for the scheduled times on the hour, such as 10 a.m., 11 a.m., etc. Please be advised that tour times change throughout the year due to visitation and available staffing.

Visitors can purchase Scenic Tour tickets 24 hours ahead of their expected arrival date and up to 90 days in advance using an online service, Recreation.gov. Ticket prices are the same for reservations or first come first serve tickets purchased on-site. However, all financial transactions with reservations are administered by Recreation.gov.

Tickets are also sold on-site on a first come first serve basis on the day of the tour. Tickets are limited by tour type, and tours often sell out by mid to late morning during the summer season (May through September). During the peak season or a holiday weekend, it is advised that visitors make an advanced tour reservation or arrive in the early morning to purchase on-site tickets.

Tours and Ticket Fees

Scenic Tour - Ticket Prices

  • $12.00 - Adult age 16 & over
  • $8.00 - Youth ages 6-15
  • $0.00 - Child ages 5 & under
  • Passes Not Valid - Annual Pass / Annual - Military Pass / Senior Pass - Lifetime or Annual / Access Pass / Volunteer Pass / 4th & 5th Grade Pass or voucher / Golden Age or Access Pass

Scenic Tour Details: This tour is moderately strenuous and lasts one hour and 20 minutes. The tour enters and exits the cave by elevator in the visitor center. The 1/2-mile tour route involves walking up and down 734 stairs along a paved trail with electrical lighting. This tour provides a winding exploration through chambers decorated with calcite crystals and other colorful speleothems. It is recommended that children five and under be taken on the Discovery Talk. Parents and guardians may not carry a child of any age on the Scenic Tour; all tour participants must be able to navigate the 734 stairs along the tour route unassisted. NOTE: 30-person maximum

Discovery Talk - Ticket Prices

  • $4.00 - Adult age 16 & over
  • Free - Youth & Children ages 15 & under
  • Free - Senior / Golden Age / Access pass holder only
  • Passes Not Valid - Annual Pass / Annual - Military Pass / Volunteer Pass / 4th & 5th Grade Pass or voucher

Discovery Talk Details: This 20-minute program is a brief introduction to the natural and cultural history of Jewel Cave National Monument. This activity takes place inside the Target Room, the first cave chamber along the Scenic Tour route. This easy and accessible activity enters and exits the cave by elevator in the visitor center. It is recommended that families with young children and visitors with limited time or health concerns take part in this activity, versus a extended cave tour. NOTE: 20-person maximum

Historic Lantern Tour - Ticket Prices

  • $12.00 - Adult age 16 & over
  • $8.00 - Youth ages 8-15 (must be at least age 8)
  • Passes Not Valid - Annual Pass / Annual - Military Pass / Senior Pass - Lifetime or Annual / Access Pass / Volunteer Pass / 4th & 5th Grade Pass or voucher / Golden Age or Access Pass

Lantern Tour Details: The Lantern Tour (summer season only) is a 1940s style adventure within the Historic Cave Entrance. Visitors carry lanterns along a 1/2-mile undeveloped cave trail, entering and exiting the cave through the historic entrance. This strenuous tour lasts one hour and 45 minutes and includes about 600 steep, narrow stairs. The tour requires bending, stooping, duck walking, and navigation of steep, wooden, ladder-like steps. Children ages seven and under are not allowed on Lantern Tours. Parents and guardians may not carry a child of any age on the Lantern Tour; all tour participants must be able to navigate the tour route unassisted. NOTE: 20-person maximum

 

America the Beautiful
The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program

This program provides seven pass options for the public to use at Federal recreation sites where Entrance fees or Standard Amenity fees are charged. Recreation fees continue to provide a vital source of revenue for improving facilities and visitor services at a variety of public lands across the country. These annual or lifetime passes provide an affordable and convenient way to access Federal recreation lands with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Land Management. Up to 100% of the pass program's proceeds are used to improve and enhance visitor recreation services. These passes are not valid for Expanded Amenity fees such as camping, cave tours, boat launches, or concession fees. Each pass is non-transferable and must be signed by the pass owner to be valid. Passes do not provide a discount at cooperating association bookstores or other park stores.

For more information or to inquire about the purchase of a pass, visit the USGS website related to recreational passes.


Will my America the Beautiful Pass work at Jewel Cave National Monument?
Answer: The Lifetime Senior Pass, Annual Senior Pass, and Access Pass are the only passes accepted at the monument and can only be used by the pass holder for the Discovery Talk. These passes do not cover the fees for Scenic Tours, Historic Lantern Tours, or Wild Caving Tours.

If I forgot my Senior Pass or Access Pass and have to pay a fee for the Discovery Talk, can I get a refund later?
Answer: No ... refunds are not issued for missing passes. Pass order confirmation letters, credit card receipts, and handtags without passes are also not accepted as proof of purchase of a Senior Pass or Access Pass.

Can I purchase America the Beautiful Passes at the monument?
Answer: No ... Access Passes are available on-site for those that qualify; however, all other passes need to be purchased online or through a participating public land office, visitor center, or administration building.

Do the other NPS sites in the Black Hills accept America the Beautiful Passes?
Answer: A pass is only valid for entrance and standard amenity fees (day use). Camping, cave tours, boat tours, and other ranger-guided services are often not covered; however, Senior Pass and Access Pass holders may receive a discount at some locations. Please check with each individual park unit for clarification on their fees and pass acceptance.

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

Phone:

(605) 673-8300
The main phone line connects visitors with staff at the visitor center. Throughout the year, the phone line is monitored by staff on a daily basis, excluding holidays and days with limited visitor services. Please be advised that after-hours messages are not taken on the system; visitors are encouraged to call the visitor center during normal operations and speak with a park ranger for assistance.

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