Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer

4.2
#4 of 16 in Parks in Custer
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Jewel Cave the 13th national monument on February 7, 1908. It is located 13 miles west of Custer, SD along Hwy 16.
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Jewel Cave National Monument Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
1,175 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • A wonderful tour! Magical and informative.. Our tour guide, Haley was very knowledgeable, friendly, patient... We got to the monument at 7:50am. If you don’t have reservations, get there before it ope...  more »
  • Being in a wheelchair this is a site one can see. Granted you cannot go deep into the cave. You can take an elevator ride 240 feet below and see some of the cave. If you’re disabled you can get an Ace...  more »
  • I'm a bit surprised at how many people post angry that tours are sold out. The NPS site makes this pretty clear, as well as the fact that you can reserve some tours ahead of time. The no backpack rule...  more »
Google
  • The cave is amazing. It's a very different experience from Wind Cave, which is also in the Black Hills. So both are definitely worth visiting of you're in the area. The rooms and passageways you walk through on the tour are huge. It's a pretty easy walk. I was too busy looking at all the awesome cave formations to notice any effort in walking up the stairs. It's only about 50 degrees in the cave and the tour is well over an hour so definitely wear a sweatshirt or a jacket--I'm glad I did.
  • Jewel Cave was a wonderful tour. The tour took about 2 hours and you need at least 45 minutes if you want to complete the junior ranger program in the museum. The finding and exploration of the cave is unique and the cave is so clean. Our tour guide was interesting and knowledgeable. There are lots of stairs and it is important to wear tennis shoes. Sandals and crocs are not allowed, for your own safety. The grate is sharp and will poke through soft soled shoes. Our family thoroughly enjoyed Jewel Cave.
  • THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: they only have so many advance tickets available for purchase and a limited number of walk in tickets. If you do not get there early (i.e. 8:30-9:00am) you may find all tours sold out (this happened the first time we went to visit the cave last year which was a bummer since it was an hour drive one direction to get there). The rangers monitor for white nose syndrome so make sure your closed-toed shoes HAVE NOT been to a cave with this issue within the last 10 years. This park is very clean, informative rangers in the lobby and parking lot, the park is easy to find, clean bathrooms, and has an informational area to look at while you wait for your tour. The rangers do an excellent job making sure everyone has proper shoes and reminding people that it's 49°F in the cave so a sweater and pants are a good idea. They do sell long sleeve shirts and sweaters in the gift shop if you forget one. I wish our ranger in the cave was a bit more informative with the history, discovery, and geology of the cave. I felt like her explanations were too brief/overly simplified and it began to feel like the cave was not interesting based on the information she shared with us. We took the scenic tour and it only had three stopping points where the ranger gave us a super brief explanation of the cave and history. We spent more time waiting for everyone to gather at these points and waiting for the ranger to get up to the front then she did explaining. She did answer questions, talk with people along the way, and point out interesting rock formations along the way, but if you were near the back or in the middle, it was hard to ask questions along the way. The groups are small (30 people) which makes it easy to get through and everyone was able to hear the ranger at the larger gathering spots. The tour was great for kids (although my 7 year old nephew got bored near the end) and it wasn't super strenuous. There were benches and places to rest at the larger gathering points throughout the cave.
  • This place is pretty neat, I'd never been in a cave before this one. First off you ride an elevator down approx. 25 stories into the ground. Once you get to the bottom it opens into a room. It's amazing seeing all the different formations in the cave. We had an excellent guide that led us on a tour, she was very knowledgeable about the cave and the history of it. Would like to try the different tour next time.
  • First thing, reserve your tour ahead of time, we were doing this last minute and ended up waiting 2 hours for an opening in a tour. Luckily the visitors center there was great, the junior ranger program was fun for the kids, and the was a ranger talk to see. So the wait time flew by. The scenic tour itself was awesome. Our guide was knowledgeable and pleasant. All the different formations and different depths were intriguing. Very worth the wait. Be sure if you are in the area that you make this a stop on your list.
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