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 (check the tour schedule before visiting).

Important Information For All Tours

  • 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).
  • It is common for tours to fill by 12 p.m. daily during the summer season. Arrive early in the morning to increase your chance of getting on your preferred tour.
  • 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.
  • There are NO self-guided tours at Jewel Cave.
  • The temperature in the cave is 49°F/9°C year-round.
  • Jackets and low-heeled, closed-toe shoes or hiking boots are recommended for all tours.
  • Tennis shoes or hiking boots are REQUIRED for the Historic Lantern Tour. Closed toe sandals 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.
  • 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-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. Larger cameras are allowed on the Scenic Tour and Discovery Talk, but large camera cases and tripods must be left in your vehicle.

What NOT to Bring

  • All Backpacks, Purses, 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, pets, strollers, and child backpack carriers are not permitted on any cave tour.

  • Any items used or worn in a cave outside of the Black Hills-This is to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus known to kill bats.

Last updated: March 25, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

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