The Scenic Tour route provides an opportunity to visit various cave chambers and passages decorated with calcite crystals and other speleothems. This tour is considered a modern-day walking tour along a paved trail with electric lighting. The tour enters and leaves the cave by elevator in the visitor center. The Scenic Tour is moderately strenuous and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The tour route involves walking up and down 734 stair steps along a 1/2-mile (.8 km) loop, (equivalent to 40 flights of stairs). During the Scenic Tour, you will see two types of calcite crystals known as nailhead spar and dogtooth spar, which are the "jewels" of Jewel Cave. In addition, you can view boxwork, cave popcorn, flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and a long ribbon drapery called the cave bacon. With each visit, you will learn more about the cave formations, discovery and continuous exploration.
NOTE: Wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices are not allowed on the Scenic Tour. Individuals with physical or mobility limitations may wish to contact the monument directly at (605) 673-8300 for additional programming
Select a date to see a list of times
To prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is a bat disease, all cave tour participants will walk across a decontamination mat when exiting Jewel Cave.
All cave tour participants (of all ages) must be able to navigate the tour routes unassisted. Cave tours are moderately strenuous and not recommended for anyone with health conditions, poor balance, mobility concerns, or those with physical limitations (i.e., difficulty climbing stairs, recent surgery, and illness).
Children may NOT be carried on any portion of the Scenic Tour route. Furthermore, strollers, diaper bags, and backpack carriers are not allowed on the Scenic Tour.
Infants and toddlers can be carried using a front-carrier only, and the infant / toddler must remain in the carrier throughout the duration of the Scenic Tour.
Food, gum, candy, drinks, tobacco products, monopods, tripods, Go-Pro sticks, large flashlights, and pets are not allowed inside Jewel Cave. These items need to be left in the security of a personal vehicle.
Sandals, flip flops, slides, or other shoes that are not securely fastened to the foot are not allowed on any cave tour. If questionable, park rangers will ask that you change your footwear before taking part in a cave tour.
The temperature inside Jewel Cave is 49 degrees F / 9 degrees C year-round. Visitors are encouraged to wear long pants and a sweatshirt, sweater, or light jacket.
Photography is permitted along the Scenic Tour; however, visitors are encouraged to use small cameras and/or cell phones to avoid large lenses, bags, etc. Pictures are not allowed on any stairs within the cave.