Historic Lantern Tour

A family enjoys the Historic Lantern Tour route in Jewel Cave.  This tour is offered only during the summer months.
A family enjoys the Historic Lantern Tour route in Jewel Cave.  This tour is offered only during the summer months.

NPS Photo

The Historic Lantern Tour is an adventurous tour into Jewel Cave.

Step back in to the past on the Historic Lantern Tour where your Park Ranger is dressed in a 1930s-style uniform. This adventure gives you a sense of what it was like to tour the cave in earlier days. Visitors enter and leave the cave through the historic entrance using an unpaved trail. The only light is provided by a lantern most tour participants carry and you will visit passages to the Dungeon Room or the Heavenly Room. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The tour route is approximately 1/2 mile long, and includes ~600 steep wooden steps (ladder-like stairs), and requires bending and stooping. This tour is considered strenuous. The age requirement, strictly enforced for safety reasons, is 6 years old or older.

This tour is offered the second week of June through Labor Day Monday in September. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis. There is a limit of 20 participants on each Historic Lantern Tour. Tickets for the Historic Lantern Tour must be purchased at the ticket kiosk near the visitor center parking lot at least 30 minutes before tour time.

Come prepared for this adventure, wear low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes such as sneakers, tennis shoes, or hiking boots, long pants, and a light jacket or sweatshirt. Open-toed shoes and sandals (including Teva footwear and KEEN hiking sandals) are prohibited. The cave temperature is a constant 49 degrees Fahrenheit or 9 degrees Celsius. Persons who have heart or respiratory conditions, back or lower joint problems, have recently been hospitalized or have a fear of closed-in spaces, should talk with a park ranger before selecting this tour.


Last updated: July 10, 2016

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Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

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