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“Cave Tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave National Monument
11149 US Hwy 16, Building B12, Custer, SD 57730
+1 605-673-8300
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Ranked #8 of 29 things to do in Custer
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/day tour, Group tours/walking tour, Hiking
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Attraction details
Owner description: Jewel Cave National Monument is home to one of the longest caves in the world. Offering an assortment of cave formations and recreational opportunities, many visitors are truly amazed by this underground wilderness. Most impressive is the fact that exploration and discovery continue to take place at this significant natural resource. As part of the National Park Service, the monument offers four different types of cave experiences: Scenic Tour (1 hour and 20 minutes), Discovery Talk (20 minutes) Historic Lantern Tour (1 hour and 45 minutes), and Wild Caving Tour (3 to 4 hours). During the winter months, limited tour options are available. Furthermore, the monument is open Mondays through Fridays through early March. NOTE: The parking lot near the visitor center is under construction through the winter of 2015. Visitors are advised to use the shuttle service when going to and from the visitor center and follow the directional signs accordingly. Furthermore, cave tour tickets will only be made available on a first come first serve basis at the monument. Interested park guests are welcome to call the visitor center directly for planning assistance.
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Cave Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We took the 80 minute cave tour and enjoyed the experience immensely. The National Park Ranger was exceptionally knowledgeable. There are some very interesting hiking trails from the Visitor Center.

Visited September 2013
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498 reviews from our community

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English first
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“You MUST see this!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

If I got back that way, I will see Jewel Cave again. We took the tour underground and it was amazing. We brought long sleeves and we needed them as it was around 45 degrees in the cave. I wore flip flops and was still able to get around easily as the walk ways were paved or were metal. The ranger that guided us through was fun and engaging. She had a lot of information to share and let us get lots of pictures in. I do recommend bringing a flashlight on this tour as the cave is rather dim. It was very enjoyable.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Buy Ticket First Thing in the Morning”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013 via mobile

WARNING what the tourist information booths and guidebooks don't tell you is that the tours book up first thing in the morning! Very disappointing to arrive at a NATIONAL monument after driving from Michigan only to find out that we would not be able to see the cave because they were already sold out of all the tours for the day. The reason given is that their part time help returned to school (basically understaffed). We were not the only people being turned away. No effort was made to accommodate all of us on an additional tour. Four staff employees were behind the desk shooting the breeze, by the way. To make matters worse, they didn't even have a movie for us to watch, just a few kids displays. Disappointing for sure.

Visited September 2013
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NPSParkRanger, Public Relations Manager at Jewel Cave National Monument, responded to this review, September 23, 2013
Dear Sir and/or Madam:

Thank you for the open and honest feedback related to your visitor experience on September 12th. We certainly understand your feelings, and we also realize that you were disappointed in the services provided by our staff. You can be assured that we have passed along your comments to the off-season park rangers for their awareness, and we hope to avoid the perceived situation of staff "shooting the breeze."

With respect to our guided cave tours, the first come first serve ticket sale(s) situation is clearly posted in an assortment of locations. We have also communicated this visitor service to our local and regional chamber offices, as well as through the South Dakota Dept. of Tourism. Many local private hotels and attractions are (were) also made aware of this situation through routine phone calls (reminders) from the Monument. Nonetheless, we will continue to try harder at providing this information to an even greater network for visitor awareness.

It is important to note that many park sites offer guided tours, and off-season staff sizes may affect the number of tours that are available on any given day. We do apologize for your experience; six Scenic Tours and four Discovery Tours were available on the date of your visit. This is the number of tours that we can accommodate with our available staff. We wish there were more opportunities for additional tours, but we simply were not in position to offer additional services in mid-September.

We are saddened to read about your impressions of the visitor center. The facility was remodeled with new displays in May, and there are a number of interactive exhibits for visitors ... not just for youth. The displays complement the cave tours and answer many visitor questions about the ongoing exploration and discovery of Jewel Cave.

Best wishes for your future travels, and we hope you consider returning to Jewel Cave National Monument in the future.

Park Ranger
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
“Great Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013 via mobile

My 2nd gave to visit. Last I was here was in 06. This is still my favorite cave..anytime I am back in South.Dakota will will be back again .

Visited September 2013
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Lumberton, Tx
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Thank you Ranger Melissa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

We had a great time in jewel park! Before our tour we walked one of the trails and saw 5 deer, chipmunks, and a red squirrrel. Took our tour with Ranger Melissa. She was wonderful with knowledge and humor. Favorite part was the bacon! :)

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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