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Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer

Categories: Caves, National Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.1/5 based on 900+ reviews on the web
Jewel Cave National Monument is located in Custer. Using our custom trip planner, Custer attractions like Jewel Cave National Monument can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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  • While in the Black Hills we wanted to tour this talked about cave. It was remarkable. The guide was very good and we learned much about the history of the cave and the ongoing exploration. 
  • We did the 90 minute Scenic Tour. $12 per person. Lots of stairs but not too strenuous. Very informative. 
  • A must see if you have seen the wind caves! Much larger caverns and different formations . It is believed that these two caves connect at some point. 
  • I'm sure it would have been lovely had Ranger Dorothy Perkins not made us leave because my 1 year old was talking (NOT crying or being disruptive)... She's far too old to be doing tours that are meant for all walks of life. My other children were sad they didn't get to finish the tour past the first room. When my husband asked her to speak a little louder she told him no that down there she's the boss. We know for a fact that there's been complaints for the same thing in the past, so maybe it's time to reevaluate Ms. Perkins employment and maybe suggest retirement.
  • One of the highlights of our trip! You try and imagine what you will be seeing but until you start down and during the tour your can't even being to describe the beauty of the cave. We were off season but were told people stand in line early in the morning for tickets and once they run out that is it for the day.
  • This cave is amazing! The story behind the discovery is very interesting and the fact that only 5% of the cave has even been explored. It may be ranked as the third largest cave in the world, but that is only because it hasn't been fully explored. Bring layers as it is 59 degrees and don't wear good pants. They will get dirty with Manganese although we were able to wash everything out without a problem. My only gripe with this experience is that tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis and if you are not at the front gate at or before opening which is 8:30am you will be waiting a while for your tour time or won't get one at all! Luckily I had been told by a friend to arrive early. We were there at 8:50am (we had to drive 1hr 15mins to get there from our hotel) and the first 3 tours (scenic tours) for the day were already full. We did go on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, but it was frustrating to have to wait 2 hours for our tour.
  • My family and I did the historic lantern tour, and it was well worth the money. We enjoyed the learning experience and being able to go deep into the cave holding lanterns was an amazing experience. We have three teenagers and they loved it.
  • Jewel Cave is tucked away in a lesser traveled part of South Dakota a few miles west of Custer. Despite being a more obscure National Monument, it is extremely popular and the tours book up quickly in the morning. We arrived 20 minutes before opening and there was already a line! Highly recommend to purchase your tickets first thing and then take time to explore the Visitor Center, Gift Shop, and even drive back into Custer if you have the time. The Scenic Tour and Discovery Tour leave from the main Visitor Center; however, the Historic Lantern Tour leaves from the Jewel Cave Historic Entrance located a mile west down the highway. The ranger selling tickets did not mention this, and my husband and I and another couple almost missed the tour! Thankfully the rangers at the Visitor Center desk were kind enough to call ahead and were able to hold the tour for five minutes while we raced out to the car and booked it down the road. Don't plan on similar consideration though! Double check where you tour departs from, and allow plenty of time to make it. The Historic Lantern Tour was a phenomenal experience! As close to "wild caving" as you can get without actually doing a Wild Cave Tour. Children under the age of 12 carry a lantern outfitted with LEDs, everyone over the age of 12 gets an oil lantern per couple. The ranger is careful to make sure that everyone without a lantern is at all times situated between two people carrying lanterns so they have adequate light. The tour is not long distance-wise, but there are a series of very steep ladder-like stairs with tight turns and occasionally low clearance to navigate. Totally worth it though! You feel like an old-time adventurer! Wear a jacket, and closed-toe shoes are required (hiking boots or tennis-shoes). We didn't get dirty on the Lantern Tour, but other trips may differ. Highly recommend Jewel Cave National Monument, and highly recommend the Historic Lantern Tour. You really learn a lot about the history of Jewel Cave itself and the human exploration thereof.
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