Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave National Monument

Quick Facts

Jewel Cave National Monument

South Dakota

(605) 673-8300

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world. To date, over 150 miles of passages have been explored and surveyed, and airflow studies indicate that most of the cave has yet to be found. Each year, explorers discover and map about three additional miles of the cave. Cave tours provide opportunities for viewing this pristine cave system and its wide variety of speleothems including stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, frostwork, flowstone, boxwork and hydromagnesite balloons. The cave is an important hibernaculum for several species of bats. Jewel Cave National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation on February 7, 1908.

Additionally, the park is popular for wildflower viewing. There are 393 documented plant species at Jewel Cave National Monument. Wildflowers are commonly seen in bloom near the visitor center, at the historic area, and along all surface trails.

Map of Jewel Cave

Latitude, Longitude: 43.731582, -103.827775

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    The bird list contains 120 species of birds seen at the Monument. Some are abundant, like the red-breasted nuthatch, while others, like the bald eagle, are uncommon but are seen occasionally. Pick up a list at the visitor center or print one from the web site and watch for birds while you enjoy the trails.

  • Caving

    All cave tours are ranger-guided and require a minimum of 2 visitors. Tickets are required to enter the cave, and are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cave tours do sell out at any time. Therefore, the wait time for a tour, without reservations, could be a few hours or the next day. Cave tour tickets can be purchased up to seven days in advance of your visit. In order to purchase tickets over the phone, you must speak with a representative and have a major credit card. Please call 1-605-673-8300 between 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time for tour information. Note: Tour schedules are subject to change due to staff availability, emergency situations, and/or special events.

  • Hiking

    There are two self-guided trails at Jewel Cave National Monument, and one U. S. Forest Service trail which begins approximately 1 mile from the Jewel Cave visitor center. Printed information on all three trails is available at the visitor center year-round, and at the historic ranger cabin in the summer. The trails are diverse: from a ¼ mile (.4 km) to over 5.5 miles (8.9 km), from level to steep and rugged, and everything in between. There is bound to be at least one trail just right for you.

  • Historic Sites

    The Discovery Tour and Scenic Tour are offered daily, year-round, except for Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1st. The Historic Lantern Tour is offered the second week of June through the first week of September. The Wild Caving Tour is offered during the summer (June through August) and on certain days during the off-season (winter). Fees are charged for all cave tours.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is permitted at the site.

  • Winter Sports

    Contact the office for more information about ski and snowshoe touring.

Seasonality/Weather

The Visitor Center and surface trails are open daily. The Visitor Center will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1st. In the event of inclement weather, visitors are advised to call ahead. Hours of operation are subject to change during severe weather and emergency situations.

Park Partners

The Black Hills Parks & Forests Association

The Black Hills Parks & Forests Association is a non-profit cooperating association that partners with state and federal agencies to promote public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Black Hills natural and cultural heritage.

The Black Hills Parks & Forests Association sells books, maps, and other park related publications online and in visitor centers at Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer State Park, the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and Black Hills National Forest. The association publishes books and material about these areas.

The association uses the proceeds from its sales to provide financial aid to its partner agencies. The monetary donations are used to print interpretive publications, fund internship positions, purchase educational supplies and equipment, serve as matching funds for grant requests, and provide assistance toward research projects.

They also supply bookstore materials to the 1881 Custer County Courthouse Museum in Custer, SD and the Hudson Meng Bison Kill in Crawford, NE.

(605) 745-7020

Directions

Driving

The main Visitor Center and cave entrance is thirteen miles west of Custer, South Dakota on RT 16, 24 miles east of Newcastle, Wyoming on RT 16 and 54 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota via RT 16 & 16 -385.

Flying

The nearest major airport is 54 miles away in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(605) 673-8300

Links