Guided Tours

Straw-like formation connects one rock to another.
A thin, light-colored formation, named a soda straw stretches from one rock to another in the Formation Room along the popular Scenic Tour route.

NPS Photo

Due to COVID-19, all ranger-guided tours AND advanced reservations for the Scenic Tours are suspended until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to assisting with your vacation plans in the future.

Ranger-guided tours are required to enter Jewel Cave, and the various tours are offered at scheduled times, which vary by season.


Throughout the year, cave tours often fill to capacity by late morning. For this reason, visitors are encouraged to make advanced tour reservations by contacting Black Hills Vacations or calling (605) 717-7629. Advanced reservations are only available for Scenic Tours and can be made up to 72 hours before your arrival date, or up to 90 days in advance. Reservations for Scenic Tours are available for the tour times on the hour, beginning at 10 a.m. and followed with 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., etc.

Tickets for the Historic Lantern Tours, Discovery Talks, and some Scenic Tours are available on-site, in person, on a first come, first served basis; advanced reservations are not taken over the phone by park staff. Please be advised that all cave tour tickets are limited by tour type and time, and all tour options often sell out by late morning. During the late spring, summer, and early fall seasons, visitors are encouraged to arrive at the monument in the early morning for the most ticket options available.

Tickets for the Wild Caving Tour can be purchased in advance, up to 28 days prior to the scheduled tour. Reservations are made by calling the visitor center at (605) 673-8300 and speaking with park staff. This tour is only available on select dates during the summer months, and this caving activity is geared for those seeking a strenuous, multi-hour experience underground.

 

Prepare Yourself for the Cave Tours

  • To prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is a bat disease, all cave tour participants will walk across a decontamination mat when exiting Jewel Cave. NOTE: Other cave sites may not allow visitors to enter their resource with the same boots, clothing, or personal devices that have been inside Jewel Cave.
  • Know Your Limits! All cave tour participants (of all ages) must be able to navigate the tour routes unassisted. Cave tours are moderately strenuous and not recommended for anyone with health conditions, poor balance, mobility concerns, or those with physical limitations (i.e., climbing stairs, recent surgery, and illness).
  • Sandals, flip flops, slides, or other shoes that are not securely fastened to the foot are not allowed on any cave tour. If questionable, park rangers will ask that you change your footwear before taking part in a cave tour.
  • The temperature inside Jewel Cave is 49 degrees F / 9 degrees C year-round. Visitors are encouraged to wear long pants and a sweatshirt, sweater, or light jacket.
  • Photography is permitted along the Scenic Tour and during Discovery Talks; however, visitors are encouraged to use small cameras and/or cell phones to avoid large lenses, bags, etc. Pictures are not allowed on any stairs within the cave.
  • There are NO REFUNDS for missed tours or late arrivals. Visitors are encouraged to plan their schedules carefully and be on-site at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour time.
  • Historic Lantern Tours / Tennis shoes, sneakers, or hiking boots are required on the Historic Lantern Tour. Open-toed shoes (i.e., sandals, Crocs, Teva footwear, and some styles of Keen) are not acceptable.
  • Historic Lantern Tours / Due to several steep stairs, large cameras and bags are not allowed on Historic Lantern Tours. If questionable, park rangers will ask that these items be left in the security of a personal vehicle.
  • Historic Lantern Tours / Tour tickets are purchased near the visitor center; however, the cave tour takes place at the Jewel Cave Historic Area, which is located about one mile west of the main entrance to the visitor center parking lot.
  • Wild Caving Tours / Specific guidance is provided to all participants before arrival to the monument. Visitors taking part in this tour are encouraged to review the guidance and follow the instructions carefully in preparation for the adventure.

Important Information Regarding Young Children

  • Children may NOT be carried on any portion of the Scenic Tour route. Furthermore, strollers, diaper bags, and backpack carriers are not allowed in Jewel Cave. For this reason, the Discovery Talk is recommended for those with infants, toddlers, and young children.
  • Infants and toddlers can be carried using a front-carrier only, and the child must remain in the carrier throughout the duration of the Scenic Tour.
  • If you are unsure of the cave tours, the monument also provides a Junior Ranger and Pee Wee Ranger Program for kids of all ages, along with patio talks and ranger-guided surface hikes during the summer months.

What NOT to Bring

  • Backpacks, purses, handbags, diaper bags, weapons, hiking sticks, and walking poles are not allowed inside Jewel Cave. For your safety, as well as the protection of the cave resources, these items need to be left in the security of a personal vehicle.
  • Food, gum, candy, drinks, tobacco products, monopods, tripods, Go-Pro sticks, large flashlights, and pets are not allowed inside Jewel Cave. These items need to be left in the security of a personal vehicle.

Last updated: August 15, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

Phone:

(605) 673-8300

Contact Us