The Scenic Tour begins in the Target Room like the Discovery Tour but the route continues on, providing 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
Sneakers, tennis shoes, or hiking boots are required. Any type of sandals or shoes with any openings are NOT acceptable. This is for visitor safety to help all best navigate the cave trail. Also, all cave tours exit through a white-nose syndrome decontamination mat with a liquid solution.
There are NO REFUNDS for late arrivals or missed tours. Visitors are encouraged to plan their travel schedules carefully and be on-site at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour time.
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. Children 15 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult while in the park and on a cave 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.
Backpacks, purses, bags of any size, 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.
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.