Permits & Reservations

Reservations for Scenic Cave Tours, ticket prices and tour descriptions are found under the Fees & Passes page.


Special Use Permits

Jewel Cave National Monument offers special use permits for an assortment of gatherings and a variety of commercial activities that often relate to special events. The purpose of these permits is to ensure the protection of the monument's natural and cultural resources, as well as to allow for the safety of the permit participants, visitors, and staff.

Special events include activities such as commercial filming, still photography, weddings, memorial services, special ceremonies, auto club rallies, organized tours, large group camps, and youth gatherings. It is important to note that special events differ from public assemblies and public meetings in that the latter activities are rights protected by the First Amendment. The authority for the management of special events in a National Park Service site can be found in Title 16, U.S. Code and Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, 2.50. The 2006 National Park Service Management Policies and Director's Order 53 Special Park Uses provide policy guidance for management of special event activities.

Application Forms

Application for Special Use Permit (Short Form)

Application for Special Use Permit (Long Form - all others)

Application for Special Use Permit - Commercial Filming / Still Photography - Short Form

Application for Special Use Permit - Commercial Filming / Still Photography - Long Form

The following guidelines are established by the 2006 National Park Service Management Policies, as they relate to special event activities within Jewel Cave National Monument.

A special park use is a short-term activity that takes place within the monument and that:

  • Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large.
  • Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the NPS in order to protect park resources and the public interest.
  • Is not prohibited by law or regulation.
  • Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS
  • Is not managed under a concession contract.

Special use permits for special events will not be issued, if in the opinion of the Superintendent, the requested special event will:

  • Cause injury or damage to park resources.
  • Be contrary to the purposes for which the park was established, or unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural or cultural locations within the monument.
  • Unreasonably interfere with the interpretive, visitor service, or other program activities, or with administrative operations.
  • Substantially impair the operation of public facilities or services of NPS concessionaire or contractors.
  • Present a clear and present danger to public health and safety.
  • Result in significant conflict with other existing uses.

Processing Time
All special use permit applications will be handled in the order they are received. Standard requests can usually be processed in 10 business days. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, and/or coordination with other NPS sites or large-scale visitor activities may require a minimum of four weeks to process. A minimum of four weeks is also required to process special use permits for projects or activities that need additional environmental compliance.

Application fees vary depending on the type of permit issued. Additional processing fees will be charged if the permit is approved.

For questions or additional information, please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator at (605) 673-8302.

Filming and Photography Permits

Commercial Filming and Still Photography Permits are issued for filming, photography, and associated sound recording to ensure the protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts, or set dressings. Furthermore, these permits are required for access to surface and sub-surface areas of the monument normally closed to the visiting public. For more information, contact the Chief Ranger at (605) 673-8302, or e-mail your request.

Permits Involving Cave Entrance

All persons exiting Jewel Cave are required to walk across a decontamination mat to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is a bat disease. Permit participants are advised that other cave sites may not allow them to enter another cave with any item that has been inside Jewel Cave. The reason for this possibility is due to Jewel Cave being identified as a WNS-positive site. Furthermore, footwear, clothes, or gear worn in any caves or mines will not be allowed on the Candlelight and Wild Cave Tours at nearby Wind Cave National Park.

Research Permits

For those wanting to conduct special research within Jewel Cave National Monument, a permit is required. For details on research permits, contact the Chief of Resource Management at (605) 673-8308, or e-mail your request.

Complete the form above and mail it (along with payment; checks made payable to the National Park Service) to:

Jewel Cave National Monument
11149 US Hwy 16
Building B12
Custer, South Dakota 57730

Last updated: January 29, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


(605) 673-8300

Contact Us