This is a general review and guide to Devils Tower in Wyoming. Get background, activities, travel and hotel accommodations info.
Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming
As one travels through the vast empty space of the west, slide by the wide-open grasslands and stunning landscape of the State of Wyoming. Wyoming is the official state of the horned toad (which is actually a lizard) and the state dinosaur is the Triceratops (non-living).
If that doesn’t get your attention, then get on your horse (horsepower that is!) and head to the northeastern part of the state and come see Devils Tower, located roughly 9 miles from Hulett.
The park has more than 1300 acres of forest, rocks, five miles of park road, and four trials with a 1.3 mile loop trial around the tower that is paved for your walking pleasure. The drive to the park is magnificent. The rock protrudes upward as if it was king of all rocks. The tower rises just over 1,200 feet above the lowest point in Wyoming, the Belle Fouche River.
America’s First National Monument
On September 24, 1906, President Roosevelt announced this rock structure the nation’s first national monument. This monument is still a sacred worship site for Native Americans and there have been strong assumptions on how this rock was made. One hypothesis is that is formed from a volcano which was here millions of years ago. There is no consensus among scientists though, and the debate continues.
Indian Legends of Devils Tower
There is a legend, which exists, about a tribe of Indians who made their home by the river, which just happens to be bear country. The legend goes something like this: Seven Indian girls went for a walk when a bear started to give chase. With nowhere to run other than a rock, they jumped upon the rock and started to pray for it to save them from the bear. The rock heard their prayers and it began to grow high toward the sky. The bear tried to climb the rock to attack the girls but it proved fruitless. The bear tried again and clawed the side of the rock. If you look closely, you can see where the bear tried to climb. The claw marks dig deeply into the sides.
Hotels & Travel Accommodations
There is lodging and camping outside the park so if you want to spend a few days, miles of walking trails offer breath-taking, ever-changing views of the Tower. Annual programs draw visitors from around the world and help enrich the experience of visiting America’s first national monument. The Tower is literally towering above peaceful pines and a boulder field created over millennia by columns that have fallen and broken into pieces.
Tourist Attractions & Activities
The park receives about 45,000 visitors annually and if you are not interested in rock climbing then there are plenty of other things to do. This is a bird watchers delight. Birds such as herons, geese, falcons, eagles, kingfishers, owls, and many more birds are part of this rock. Other activities include cross country skiing, nature walks (take your honey up there and gaze at the stars), cats (not your furry sociable type of felines either), bear, goats, beavers, bats, skunks (yes, they are everywhere), and many others.
Extreme Rock Climbers Paradise
If you think just walking around and admiring some big rock is the only thing to do, you’re wrong. This is one of the rock climbers’ pleasure and a very recreational sport. There are vigorous rules that the park stipulates before you can start your climb, so make sure you check first with the park. The park stresses they do not have their own rescue teams so you are on your own if you get stuck. Remember: The only other people that may be around are other climbers. Also the closest trauma center is about 60 miles away, so make sure you know what you are doing before climbing this rock.
The visitor’s center located at the base of the tower is at an elevation of 4,250 feet above sea level. They offer Junior Ranger Booklets with a program that children can complete for a Junior Ranger Certificate. They also have Ranger Programs, a Tower Walk, Climbing Demonstrations, and many more activities.
Still not convinced this is the right place for your vacation?
Then a trip to Prairie Town may convince you. The entrance is located less than a 1/2 mile from the main entrance. Prairie dogs live in complex societies and spend most of their time on the lookout for any predators and will emit a sound like a ‘bark’ when danger approaches. Not only does the ‘bark’ alert one family, it is passed from family to family until the entire colony will be attentive.
The Singles Scene
Okay, so what if you are single and you go for a hike around the Tower? Try your hand at mingling with other singles on the trails, in the visitor’s center, or as you climb the tower. Who knows… you may be a damsel in distress and meet your one and only as he rescues you from the mighty clutches of the rock. Or maybe you may rescue the damsel and meet Ms. Right. You may just get lucky and find other nature lovers while camping, hiking, climbing, or just relaxing with the wildlife.
You may not recognize the name Devils Tower, but take a look at the shape of the Tower and think 1977. In the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” Devils Tower is in the scene where the mothership lands (toward the end of the movie). If you have not seen the movie, travel back in time and as you watch, look out for Devils Tower.