Safety

The National Park Service is constantly looking for ways to make the Monument safer, improve visitor services, and create a more efficient operation. This includes the evaluation of cave tour guidelines on a routine basis, for the safety of our guests, as well as to preserve and protect the resources. Although many of the items may appear to be common sense, we encourage every visitor to review the restrictions below and be prepared to take the appropriate actions before arriving on-site.
Most important – while taking part in a cave tour, nature hike, or exploring on your own, you will be in a natural setting and within a public place. For this reason, you must always look out for your own safety. If you have any questions about the restrictions or need further assistance, please call the visitor center at (605) 673-8300 and speak with a park ranger.

General Cave Tour Restrictions:

  • All persons entering Jewel Cave are required to be screened for White Nose Syndrome (WNS), and if necessary, visitors must change footwear, and/or clothing, before taking part in any cave tour. If a person is unable to change their footwear, they will not be allowed to enter the cave.
  • There are no refunds for missed cave tours or late arrivals. Visitors are strongly encouraged to review and follow the restrictions carefully before arriving on-site. Furthermore, to avoid last minute issues or create a hectic situation with our staff and other guests, late arrivals will not be allowed into Jewel Cave.
  • Sandals, thongs, flip flops, or other shoes that are not securely fastened to the foot are not allowed on any cave tour. If questionable, park rangers may ask that you change your footwear before taking part in a guided cave tour.
  • Food, gum, candy, tobacco products, drinks, weapons, handbags, purses, large flashlights and camera bags, monopods, tripods, hiking/walking sticks/poles, pets, strollers, diaper bags, and all backpacks - including child backpack carriers are prohibited in the cave.
  • Touching of the cave surfaces, features, and formations is prohibited.
  • Flash photography is allowed on some cave tours. Ask a park ranger for more information.
  • The temperature within Jewel Cave is 49 degrees Fahrenheit (year-round). It is recommended to wear long pants and a sweatshirt, sweater, or jacket.
  • Cave tour participants, of all ages, must be able to navigate the tour route unassisted.
  • Cave and surface trails are uneven and may be slippery at times. Be sure to wear proper footwear, always look before you step, and use the handrails inside the cave.
  • Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • There are no restrooms in the cave or along the surface trails.
  • All cave tours and facilities require shirts and shoes for admittance.
  • To protect air quality, smoking is not permitted in the buildings, cave, or at cave entrances.
  • Take time to ensure that the cave tour you have chosen is the best one for you (and your family). All cave tours and nature hikes can be strenuous. Please make sure you understand what is required before starting an activity. If you are unsure, ask a park ranger to provide more information and share other programming options.

Last updated: July 11, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

Phone:

(605) 673-8300

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