One of the most breath taking and unbelievable sites on the outskirts of the Black Hills is the legendary Devil’s Tower National Monument, located on the Wyoming-South Dakota border in Crook county Wyoming. Every time I am within viewing distance of this national monument my reaction is the same, simply put, wow! This monument is one of those natural wonders that makes you question the hows, whys, whens, and whats of the world.
As seen from the photos, Devils Tower is an astounding visual for anyone. The formation sits at 1,267 feet above any of the surrounding terrain. That’s 1,267 feet above where you and I would most likely be standing. In total, the summit sits at 5,114 feet above sea level. To this day, geologists can not agree on the reasons Devils Tower came to be. Many believe that it is an old volcano’s core with remains of any other pieces from the volcano, volcanic debris, ash, and lava flow, long since eroded away. Others believe that it is molten rock that never surfaced. Over time, the layers above have eroded away and what is left is the columnar rock formation we see as Devils Tower. Many Native American tribes consider the formation a very sacred monument and carry their stories of Devils Tower down from generation to generation.
Though the Native Americans had inhabited the area and acknowledged Devils Tower long before, on September 24, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower a national monument. The uniqueness to this declaration was that it became the first national monument to exist within the United States.
What should you expect in a visit to Devils Tower?
Today, Devils Tower is still sacred to many Native American Tribes. The monument offers many opportunities for anyone up for an adventure. There is a KOA and several small stores and attractions sitting at the entrance to the monument. A vehicle pass is required to visit Devils Tower up close, being $10 for the average vehicle for a 1-7 day visit. Once inside, you can visit the prairie dog town, hike around Devils Tower on its 1.3 mile paved trail, attempt some rock climbing, or simply gaze at this monument in wonder. Extended trails are seen as you hike around the monument, all of them very easy and accessible. There are benches and stopping points throughout the hike, as well as viewing devices to get a better look at the climbers brave enough for Devils Tower. Also, the site offers a paved parking area, bathrooms, an information center, picnic shelters, and drinking water.