July 12 – 13, 2016: Upon arriving at Devils Tower National Monument we were surprised, although it was early evening, to find all fifty campsites booked. However, we managed to procure a site at the busy KOA that sits just outside the entrance station. The next morning we continued to be surprised with the level of activity when we found a huge line formed at the entrance station. Quite a popular place!
FUN FACT: Devils Tower National Monument was the setting for the film Close Encounters.
Once we managed to enter the national monument we headed to the visitor center. From here we walked the short and popular 1.3 mile loop trail called Tower Trail that circles Devils Tower.
FUN FACT: It is permissible to climb on the rocks below a certain point; higher requires a climbing permit.
Geologists all agree that Devils Tower is igneous rock however, geologists do not agree on how Devils Tower was formed. My favorite explanation is that of Native American legend: a few sisters were playing nearby when their brother morphed into a bear. A tree called out to the sisters to climb it to escape their brother. The sisters did as instructed and the tree morphed into a tower of rock, inaccessible to their brother the bear. His claw marks can still be seen as the vertical markings in the rock. Devils Tower is thus sacred to Native Americans and there is a period every year during which climbing is prohibited.
FUN FACT: Devils Tower National Monument is the nation’s first national monument. It was named such by Roosevelt in 1906. Wyoming contains both the first national monument and the first national park (Yellowstone)!
We found Devils Tower National Monument interesting but it only required a quick visit. Given how out of the way it likely is for most travelers, you may just want to appreciate its beauty through the photographs of others.