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“Very neat cave - make sure you call ahead for tickets.”

Jewel Cave National Monument
Ranked #7 of 39 things to do in Custer
Certificate of Excellence
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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 late winter and early spring seasons, limited tour options are available. It is recommended that visitors check online for specific tour times or call the visitor center directly for park ranger assistance. NOTE: At present, advanced reservations for cave tour tickets are not available in 2017. It is hoped that this service will be available by Memorial Day Weekend; however, until further notice, all cave tour tickets are being sold on a first come first serve basis.
Reviewed July 19, 2009

The 1.5 hour scenic tour was only $8 per person, which is a bargain in my book. Although a lot of the cave looks very similar, there are plenty of unique items throughout the cave that make the tour worthwhile. Two things to remember: 1) Its only 50 degrees F in the cave all the time, so wear pants and a jacket. 2) Call ahead to book your tickets. Only 30 people can go down per tour, so they sell out quick. If you arrive on a busy day, expect to wait several hours. There also is not a place to eat anywhere around here, so you may want to factor that in as well. The entire tour is on a paved trail, or metal walkway with railings. Very safe, even for smaller children.

1  Thank alchemisttwo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"scenic tour"
in 261 reviews
"longer tour"
in 26 reviews
in 25 reviews
"ranger guide"
in 29 reviews
"tour times"
in 14 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 31 reviews
"minute tour"
in 34 reviews
"great tour"
in 43 reviews
"interesting formations"
in 21 reviews
"buy tickets"
in 20 reviews
"long tour"
in 14 reviews
"light jacket"
in 14 reviews
"down stairs"
in 13 reviews
"tour tickets"
in 13 reviews
"ticket booth"
in 19 reviews
"visitor center"
in 68 reviews
"park ranger"
in 37 reviews

1,126 - 1,130 of 1,142 reviews

Reviewed September 11, 2008

This was really a beautiful cave! Enjoyed it very much!

Our tour guide, Ranger John, was wonderful. Very informative and friendly.

Thank BaysideFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2008

Jewel Cave, named for its multitude of jewel-like nailhead and dogtooth spar formations, is a spectacular introduction to caves.
My family and I visited recently and, with the exception of my husband, none of us had been in a cave before. The tour did not disappoint, nor was it too much for those of us who are slightly nervous in small, enclosed spaces.
It is important to note that tour sizes are small - 10-30 people - and fill up quickly. The national parks site lists a phone number where you can make a reservation ahead of time and I would recommend that if possible. We were not there at the peak of the season and had to wait several tour times.
Next, make sure you know which tour you want to take. We did both the Discovery tour and the Scenic tour. Discovery would be good if you have only a very limited amount of time (20 min.) or physical limitations, and is free with the America the Beautiful national parks pass. However, it only goes into one room of the cave (down a small flight of stairs) and although you see both nailhead and dogtooth spar, that's about it.
We did the Discovery but decided we wanted to see more, so we signed up for a Scenic Tour. While we waited, the kids worked on their Junior Ranger books, we studied the cave map and watched a film - but there is not much of a museum here. Despite the wait, the Scenic Tour (1 hr. 20 min.) was WELL worth it!! Our guide, Tara, was great and the trip was not strenuous at all - all on a paved path or metal stairs (around 400 down; 300+ up, but no more than a few flights in a consecutive row). We saw several other cave formations, like shield formations, stalactites and stalagmites, a straw, cave bacon (really neat) and cave popcorn, etc. It was cool - we wore long pants and a sweatshirt - but not as cold as I expected. The tour gave a good idea of what the cave was like as a whole, without any claustrophobia or tired out kids.
Before we visited I had looked for opinions on whether Jewel Cave or Wind Cave (nearby) would be the better one to visit and found few suggestions. I had asked our guide on the Discovery Tour what her opinion was, and she had said that both were good but there was more variety in the formations at Jewel. I would say that assessment was right on. We ended up doing both, and enjoyed both, but I would say if we only had time to do one, this was the one that was better in our opinion.

13  Thank Family4RdTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2008

While I was expecting more "jewels", our Scenic Tour was made thoroughly enjoyable by our delightful tour guide. She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She spent time telling some of her personal stories spelunking the cave. Everyone in our group had a great time!

1  Thank LovelandBecky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2007

We took the Scenic Tour (1 1/2 hours touring the cave) and had a great time. We had our little kids with us and were worried that it might be too much walking for them, but it was easy and fun. The tour stays on either a paved walkway or a raised metal walking path, including some 700+ stair steps, but there was so much to see and it was all so interesting and exciting that we didn't really notice the walking. Our tour guide was terrific - full of funny stories and interesting information about the cave. This was a highlight of our trip and we all highly recommend it! Do bring a sweater along as they suggest - we were glad we had ours.

11  Thank RTSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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