Jewel Cave National Monument News Release


Release Date: April 12, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bradley Block, Chief of Interpretation / 605-673-8330 /


Jewel Cave National Monument Reopens Cave on Saturday, April 20
National Park Week Starts with a Fee Free Day


Custer, SD – National Park Week 2019 is slated for April 20-28. Jewel Cave is celebrating the special week by reopening the cave for ranger-guided tours, beginning Saturday, April 20. The one hour and 20-minute Scenic Tour will resume on a daily basis for the season, with spring tour times at 10 a.m., 12:40 p.m., and 2:40 p.m. A 20-minute Discovery Talk is also scheduled each day at 9:05 a.m. The first day of National Park Week is a fee free day; all scheduled cave activities on Saturday will be free of charge, and tickets will be provided on a first come first serve basis.

Saturday is also National Junior Ranger Day. To further celebrate the week, a special Junior Ranger Program is set for 10:30 a.m. A guided nature hike on the one-quarter-mile Roof Trail is planned, with participants involved in an outdoor scavenger hunt. After successfully completing the activity, participants earn a special embroidered patch and certificate. Interested individuals may also want to request a Junior Ranger activity booklet at the visitor center and learn even more about the Monument. Junior Rangers and their families should meet at the visitor center and dress according to the weather conditions.

At 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Cave Explorer Chris Pelczarski will present a program on caving within Jewel Cave. Chris was part of the exploration team that mapped the 200th mile of cave in mid-December. His program shares the excitement of exploring inside the third longest cave in the world. Yet, he will also discuss his reasons for volunteering with the National Park Service and why exploration trips are so unique for the Monument.

After nearly six months of being closed for a cave construction project, the Scenic Tour route is opening just in time for spring visitors. Cave tours will continue through the spring, summer, and early fall seasons. It is expected that the cave will close again in early October 2019 for the second phase of the construction project along the Scenic Tour route. Superintendent Michelle Wheatley states, “We are looking forward to reopening the cave and welcoming back visitors.”

For information about tour times and future special events, please visit the Monument online at To learn more about the surface and subsurface features, follow the Monument on Facebook at or Instagram at To speak with a park ranger, contact the visitor center directly at (605) 673-8300 or email at

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