Deaf / Hearing Loss

Jewel Cave National Monument provides a variety of services and guidance to accommodate those with hearing impairments. Visitors with special hearing enhancement needs will find this information helpful in planning an enjoyable visit.

Sign Language Interpreter – Due to limited requests each year, the Monument does not provide an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter.Visitors that desire this service are responsible for making arrangements directly with an ASL interpreter. On occasion, park staff may be qualified to provide sign language assistance; however, there is no certainty that this service will be available on a routine basis.

Potential resources for sign language interpreters include the following: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Courtesy Phone – A courtesy phone is located at the visitor center near the restroom entrance.It is for local calls only, or it can be used with personal calling cards. Long distance calls will not be accepted, nor will incoming calls be routed to the courtesy phone. The courtesy phone is not accessible for TYY assistance.

Weather - The weather can change very quickly in the Black Hills. However, surface conditions do not normally affect the cave environment. The abrupt changes in weather only affect the trails and perhaps the ranger-guided activities near the visitor center.In the summer, the average temperature is around 80 degrees F; thunderstorms often occur during the afternoons. In the off-season, temperatures vary from sub-zero to moderate conditions;winter storms can occur at any time. Be advised that there are no shelters along the trails, and off-season trail conditions vary from day to day.

Visitors are encouraged to monitor the weather forecasts before venturing to the Monument. Furthermore, visitors should be aware of any pending weather conditions before hiking on any trail. If further assistance is needed, feel free to ask a park ranger for the most updated weather and trail conditions.

Exhibits and Displays / Visitor Center - All exhibits and displays are accessible according to ADA standards.Both interactive and tactile displays are also available throughout the facility for visitor use and educational engagement. Many of the exhibits and displays have interpretive text and offer aesthetically pleasing graphics and images.

NOTE: Jewel Cave National Monument earned 2nd Place in the Media Awards Program by the National Association for Interpretation in 2014. Part of the award process complemented the accessibility features and universal concepts within the exhibits and displays.

Guided Cave Tours – At present, Scenic Tours and Discovery Talks offer written scripts or program outlines that may provide visitors with hearing impairments some interpretive assistance. These resources can be requested directly from a park ranger at the visitor center front desk.

Interpretive Patio Talks and Guided Nature Hikes – Visitors are encouraged to take part in a variety of ranger-led activities throughout the summer months.Interpretive patio talks occur each day near the visitor center from about mid-June through late August. Guided nature hikes are scheduled once each day and take place on the one-quarter mile Roof Trail near the visitor center. At present, the patio talks and nature hikes do not offer any scripts or outlines for use by visitors; visitors that desire a sign language interpreter will need to secure this resource on their own.

Off-season programs and activities are limited, due to staff size. For an updated program schedule, ask a park ranger for additional information.

Films – The Monument is fortunate to be currently working on a new orientation film that will showcase the significance of Jewel Cave. It is scheduled for completion in 2016, during the NPS Centennial. It is planned to address all types of accessibility options, making the final product accessible to all audiences.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

Contact Us