Guided Tours

Guided tours are required to enter Jewel Cave and are offered at scheduled times throughout the year. All tours must have a minimum of 2 participants. Reservations are not accepted for the Historic Lantern Tour (summer only) or the Discovery Talk.

In collaboration with Black Hills Central Reservations, Jewel Cave National Monument offers advanced ticket sales for a limited number of guided cave tours. Advanced sales are only available for the Scenic Tour and are only offered for the scheduled tours on the hour (summer season). Advanced ticket sales can be made for dates between 72 hours and 90 days into the future using an online service at or by phone at 844-245-6179. Please be advised that advanced ticket sales are administered by Black Hills Vacations.

NOTE: Tours within 72 hours of arrival are available at Jewel Cave National Monument; tickets for tours within 72 hours of arrival are available on-site, in person, on a first come first served basis on the day of the tour. Cave tours can and often do sell out daily. It is common for tours to be sold out by 12 p.m. daily during the summer season. Arrive early in the morning to increase your chance of getting on your preferred tour.

Important Information For All Tours

  • All visitors purchasing tickets are required to be screened for White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is a bat disease. Due to WNS, which is affecting bat populations in North America, Europe, and Asia, clothes, shoes, or gear worn in any cave or mine since 2005 will NOT be allowed inside Jewel Cave. This includes private caves and mines within South Dakota and anywhere in the world. Furthermore, clothing and footwear used on the Candlelight and Wild Cave Tours at Wind Cave National Park are also not allowed within Jewel Cave. If necessary, visitors must change their footwear, and/or clothing, before taking part in any cave tour. If a person is unable to change their footwear, they will not be allowed to enter the cave. For those visitors taking part in the Garden of Eden, Natural Entrance, and Fairgrounds Tours at nearby Wind Cave National Park, those clothing and footwear items can be worn inside Jewel Cave.
  • 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 guided cave tour.
  • In summer (June - August), wait times between purchasing tickets and select tour time can be 3 to 4 hours.
  • There is no food service at the monument. The closest town is Custer (13 miles east on highway 16).
  • All scheduled tours leave on time. You cannot catch up to a tour group once the tour leaves the surface.
  • There are NO REFUNDS for missed tours or late arrivals. Visitors are strongly encouraged to review and follow the restrictions carefully before arriving on-site.
  • There are NO self-guided tours at Jewel Cave.
  • The temperature in the cave is 49°F/9°C year-round. It is recommended to wear long pants and a sweatshirt, sweater, or jacket.
  • Tennis shoes, sneakers, or hiking boots are REQUIRED for the Historic Lantern Tour. Open-toed shoes and Close-toed sandals (including Crocs, Teva footwear, and KEEN hiking sandals as examples) are not acceptible.
  • For ticket prices, review the Fees & Passes page.
  • Know your limits! The Scenic and Historic Lantern Tours require visitors to climb a large number of stairs. Visitors who cannot negotiate stairs should not attempt these tours.
  • Cave tour participants, of all ages, must be able to navigate the tour route unassisted.

Important Information Regarding Young Children

  • It is recommended that young children participate on a Discovery Talk rather than the Scenic Tour.
  • Children may NOT be carried on any portion of the Scenic Tour route. Strollers, diaper bags, and child backpack carriers are prohibited in the cave.
  • Infants and toddlers can be carried using a front-carrier only (kangaroo pouches).
  • There are many other activities available for younger children during the summer season; including the Junior Ranger program, Ranger-led activities and surface hikes.

What to Bring

  • Warm clothes-Jewel Cave remains 49°F/9°C year-round

  • Good walking shoes, sneakers, or hiking boots-You will be walking on pathways or the cave floor in close proximity to cave rocks.

  • A camera-Jewel is a very unique and beautiful cave. Photography is permitted on the Scenic and Discovery Tours; however, cameras must be small enough to fit in your pocket on the Historic Lantern Tour.

What NOT to Bring

  • All Backpacks, Purses, Handbags, Weapons, Hiking/walking sticks/poles-For your protection as well as that of the cave, these items are NOT allowed on ANY cave tour. Secure all items in your vehicle.

  • Food, gum, candy, drinks, tobacco products, monopods, tripods, Go-Pro sticks, large flashlights, large camera bags, pets, strollers, and child backpack carriers are not permitted on any cave tour.

  • Any items used or worn in any other caves or mines-This is to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus known to kill bats.

Last updated: August 3, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

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