About Jewel Cave National Monument
Explore and Discover One of the Last Frontiers in the World
Immerse yourself within the third longest cave in the world. With over 195 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, this underground wilderness appeals to human curiosity. Its splendor is revealed through fragile formations and glimpses of brilliant color. Its maze of passages lure explorers, and its scientific wealth remains a mystery. This resource is truly a jewel in the National Park Service.
Jewel Cave's Underground Wilderness
Beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota lies the fascinating underground world of Jewel Cave. It delights, it perplexes, and it lures you on to further discovery and exploration. Most of the cave's chambers are decorated with calcite crystals and other beautiful, colorful, and rare formations. Caring for Jewel Cave can be a tough job. The National Park Service strives to balance the desire to enjoy the cave with the need to protect it.
Things to Know Before You Come:
- All cave tours are ranger-guided and require a minimum of two participants. Tours offer available space for a limited number of visitors. Cave tours can sell out at any time depending on visitation.
- The cave temperature is a constant 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). A light jacket or sweatshirt, and low-heeled rubber-soled, closed-toe walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended for all tours. Clothes or shoes worn in a cave or mine outside of South Dakota will NOT be allowed in Jewel Cave. This is to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (a bat disease).
- Cave tours are not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia, heart or respiratory conditions, recent surgeries or illnesses, or other physical limitations. Cave tour participants, of all ages, must be able to navigate the tour route unassisted.
- Food, drinks, candy, gum, tobacco products, monopods, tripods, weapons, pets, large purses, handbags, flashlights, backpacks, large camera bags, and hiking/walking sticks/poles are not permitted on any cave tour.
- Flash photography is allowed on the Scenic and Discovery Tours. Cameras and flashlights are not permitted on the Historic Lantern or the Wild Caving Tours.
- There are no restroom facilities or drinking fountains in the cave.
- Large items, such as walkers, canes, crutches, and oxygen tanks, are only allowed on the Discovery Talk, which is also wheelchair accessible.
- No pets are allowed in the cave, with the exception of certified service dogs only on the Scenic and Discovery Tours.
- It is recommended that children ages five and under participate in Discovery Tours.
- Baby or child backpack carriers and strollers are not permitted in the cave.
- Cell phone reception is poor in the Black Hills and almost non-existent at Jewel Cave National Monument.
- Pets cannot be left unattended around the visitor center parking lot, visitor facilities, or in a vehicle without proper ventilation. Pets should also not be left unattended within any vehicle during the summer season.