Devils Tower National Monument is a must!
Devils Tower National Monument was the first national monument in the United States, established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The incredible tower rises 867 feet above the surrounding pine forest, and has a one-mile circumference. The tower is made even more impressive by its unique exterior of firm rock formed into wide symmetric columns - a formation that puzzles geologists and captivates tourists equally.
While you can see the tower from the visitor center, the moderate 1.3-mile trail around it gives you multiple views of its geological formation, as well as close-ups to the rock. This paved tower trail is the way most visitors, old and young, appreciate Devils Tower. Looping around the base, the average walking time from start to finish is 45-60 minutes. From the parking lot, don't let the steep trail steer you away. After a healthy ascent in the first hundred yards, the trail quickly levels out and becomes very enjoyable as it rolls you around the base. The trail gently meanders through the boulder field and the ponderosa pine forest, and is somewhat shaded. Even though it's not a difficult trail, it's always best to wear good walking shoes, keep some water with you, and remember to avoid poison ivy and rattlesnakes as both can be present in the area.
Devils Tower is a very sacred area for many people; highly regarded by American Indians. During your visit, you may spot prayer bundles and cloths carefully tied to tree limbs around the monument. Practice utmost respect by not disturbing any that you come across.
Devils Tower is composed of symmetrical columns which are the tallest (some more than 600 feet) and widest (10 to 20 feet) in the world. Along this trail, columns lie toppled among the pine trees. From the closer vantage point on the trail, you'll notice that no two sides of the tower are alike. From the eroded columns on the south, to the smoother north side, the Tower has many faces. On the west side, the fallen, broken columns tell the Tower's future.
As you walk around the tower, you will see trees scarred by fire. Fire plays a natural role in the growth cycle in ponderosa pine forests. The thick bark of mature trees protects them from low-burning, fast-moving fires. People have suppressed fire here for more than 100 years. Without regular fires, fuels accumulate to hazardous levels. Fires then burn very hot and long, killing mature trees and seeds. A forest may take hundreds of years to recover from such a fire. Today, the National Park Service uses prescribed fire as a tool to promote a vigorous forest ecosystem.
On a pleasant day, you're also likely to spot rock climbers scaling the tower (if you spot a climber, enjoy theopportunity to put the enormous size of the tower into perspective - they will look like ants!) Climbing Devils Tower Sylvan Rocks is a Black Hills based rock climbing outfitter that frequently leads guided climbs of Devils Tower.
So while you're enjoying your time in the Black Hills, be sure explore the entire area, including the Black Hills of Wyoming - home of the magnificent Devils Tower National Monument. You won't be disappointed!
How long does it take to walk around the base of Devils Tower? ›
This paved tower trail is the way most visitors, old and young, appreciate Devils Tower. Looping around the base, the average walking time from start to finish is 45-60 minutes. From the parking lot, don't let the steep trail steer you away.How far is it around the base of Devils Tower? ›
How far is it around the Tower? The circumference of the base of the Tower is 1 mile. The Tower Trail is 1.3 miles (2 kilometers). Why is it called Devils Tower?How wide is the base of Devils Tower? ›
The Tower is about 800 feet in diameter at the base.How hard is it to climb Devils Tower? ›
Technical difficulty ratings range from 5.7 to 5.13; many modern climbers consider the oldest routes (Durrance and Wiessner) harder than their original ratings. The majority of routes at the Tower are not bolt protected and require the appropriate selection of camming devices or other temporary anchors.Can a beginner climb Devils Tower? ›
Can beginners climb Devils Tower? Yes! There are tons of routes for climbing Devils Tower as a beginner, and many that we love to guide on. With just a day or two of practice and the right rock climbing guide, getting up Devils Tower is no issue at all.How long is the Devils Tower Loop? ›
The paved, 1.3-mile (2 km) Tower Trail starts across the parking area from the visitor center. A short, steep section leads to you a junction that you can take either way to walk around the base of the Tower.What is the best time of day to see Devils Tower? ›
For the full experience, stick around until after sunset to view the night sky. Devils Tower National Monument makes a great day trip from South Dakota.Is Devils Tower worth the stop? ›
Yes, Devils Tower is certainly worth a visit either on your South Dakota itinerary or on your Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip. Okay, you will lose a bit of time from your itinerary but we can assure you Devils Tower National Monument is worth visiting.Are there rattlesnakes at Devils Tower? ›
Aside from a few exceptions, most of the reptiles seen at Devils Tower National Monument are snakes. Only one venomous species is present: the prairie rattlesnake. The most commonly seen reptile is the bullsnake (or gopher snake).Is there a volcano under Devils Tower? ›
Current research supports the conclusion that Devil's Tower was not a volcano, but was injected between sedimentary rock layers and cooled underground. The characteristic furrowed columns are the result of contraction which occurred during the cooling of the magma.
Can you walk around Devils Tower? ›
Tower Trail is the trail you'll want to do to get as close as possible to Devils Tower. it is a loop around Devils Tower. this loop is the most popular thing to do in the park. This trail is pretty easy and gives you some great views of the tower.What's inside Devils Tower? ›
The simplest explanation is that Devils Tower is a stock—a small intrusive body formed by magma which cooled underground and was later exposed by erosion (Figure 1). In 1907, scientists Darton and O'Hara decided that Devils Tower must be an eroded remnant of a laccolith.Is there a ladder on Devils Tower? ›
The last known use of the ladder was in 1927 by daredevil Babe "The Fly" White. In 1972, the park service removed what was left of the bottom section, and restored the top 140 feet of the ladder. It remains today as part of the cultural history of Devils Tower National Monument.How much time do you spend at Devils Tower? ›
The park rangers recommend that you spend 2-4 hours at Devils Tower. We think you should budget for a half day in the park to give yourself enough time to enjoy it. This will give you enough time to hike the Tower Loop Trail, check out Prairie Dog Town and see the Circle of Sacred Smoke sculpture.What gear do you need to climb Devils Tower? ›
Carry plenty of gear, including two ropes for rappelling. Inspect all permanent anchors, double-check temporary anchors, and back up your anchors if necessary. Devils Tower has no professional rescue team, and help could take hours to arrive.Can you take rocks from Devils Tower? ›
As a unit of the National Park Service, all resources within the boundary of Devils Tower National Monument are protected. It is a violation of federal law to remove or disturb any artifcat in a national park unit - including rocks, flowers, plants, cultural artifacts and wildlife.How many pitches does it take to climb Devils Tower? ›
|Climbing Area||Devils Tower, Durrance Approach|
|Route Type||Traditional climb|
|Vertical Gain||500 feet (150 m)|
Kopischka's 10-year-old daughter, Shauna, on Aug. 26, 1985, became the youngest person to climb to the top of Devil's Tower.Can you do Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower in one day? ›
This means a drive from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Wyoming. The direct drive from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower is around 2.5 hours long. So being a 2.5 hour drive, this means that you can drive from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower in one day no problem.Can you drive up Devils Tower? ›
You can drive your car through the gate and up to the Visitor's Center where you'll park and walk a short distance up to (and around, if you want) the Tower. If you are worried about low clearance or being "off road," don't worry. Tour buses drive up there.
Can you see Devils Tower without entering the park? ›
Absolutely, there are several places that you can pull over, park, get out and take photos as you are approaching the monument. In fact, you don't even have to pay to go into the park to get great photos. Some of my favorite photos of Devil's Tower are the ones we took outside the park.Are masks required at Devils Tower? ›
Keep a distance of 6 feet with others, wear a mask when distancing cannot be maintained.What's on top of Devils Tower? ›
Lichens cover parts of the tower, and sage, moss, and grass grow on its top. Chipmunks and birds live on the summit, and a pine forest covers some of the surrounding country; there is also a sizable prairie dog town near the base of the tower.What movies have been filmed at Devils Tower? ›
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) ...
- Paul (2011) ...
- My Darling Clementine (1946) ...
- National Parks Adventure (2016) ...
- Path of Souls (2012) ...
- The Big Ride 2017. ...
- In the Light of Reverence (2001)
In the Arapaho legend, a young girl is transformed into a bear and injures her sister while chasing her siblings. When her sister does not recover, “Bear-Girl” climbs to the top of Devils Tower, abandoning her family to keep them safe.What is so special about Devils Tower? ›
A Sacred Landmark
A sacred place to over 20 Native American tribes, the Tower is also known as Bear Lodge. Devils Tower was designated as America's first national monument in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Discover a hidden gem! Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
- Walk through western history. Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
- Stories of victory and defeat. Little Bighorn Battlefield.
Devils Tower, a bluff standing alone amidst the lowlands with a flat top and steep columnar sides, is a remarkable geological feature composed of igneous rocks! Devils Tower National Monument, rising 867 feet from its base and 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, is the first National Monument in the US!How do snakes get to the top of Devils Tower? ›
It is hard to say, how exactly the animals get to the top. One of the hypotheses suggests, they were dropped by predatory birds. But some climbers have reported seeing snakes and rodents working their way up fissures. In 1906 Devil's Tower became nation's first National Monument.What part of Montana has the most rattlesnakes? ›
The only venomous snake species in Montana, the prairie rattlesnake makes its home in more arid parts of the region, such as along the Madison River near Ennis, the northern reaches of Gallatin Valley, and Paradise Valley from Livingston to Yellowstone National Park.
Who owns Devils Tower? ›
Richard Dodge. In 1875, he commanded the military escort for a scientific expedition into the Black Hills. Keeping a journal during this expedition, Dodge wrote that "the Indians call this place 'bad god's tower,' a name adopted with proper modification..." And so the label "Devil's Tower" was created.Do animals live on Devils Tower? ›
Mammals. Devils Tower National Monument is home to over 40 species of mammals. Explore those species.Can you see Devils Bridge without hiking? ›
Devil's Bridge in Sedona is a great choice for the average non-hiker. There are lots of places to stop for a rest and a lot of shady spots along the trail. Winding through this high desert terrain, you'll have little elevation gain until the very end.What is at the bottom of Devils Hole? ›
On its surface, a gap in the rock the size of a living room drops down 30 feet to a limestone shelf and hot water pool. Below, a series of tunnels lead to numerous caverns and the “infinity cave,” a giant underwater lake that has never been fully mapped. Several adventurers have tried to find its deepest contours.Is Devils Tower a wonder? ›
Devils Tower National Monument, a unique and striking geologic wonder steeped in Native American legend, is a modern-day national park and climbers' challenge.Is there gold in Devils Tower? ›
There is a legend that there is a gold mine under the Devils Tower. Although there are gold mines and caves in the area, the igneous nature of the formation makes it unlikely.Who has climbed Devils Tower the most? ›
Frank is surely the area's greatest resource on Devils Tower, its history, and climbing. He has been climbing the Tower since 1972 & has summited over 2,000 times.
Colorful cloths or bundles are placed near the Tower - commonly seen along the park's trails - and represent a personal connection to the site. They are similar to ceremonial objects from other religions, and may represent a person making an offering, a request, or simply in remembrance of a person or place.Is there a buffalo skull on top of Devils Tower? ›
So he knew that all the time he had been on top of this big rock he had been standing on a big bear's lodge. From this time on his nation called this big high rock Mato Tipila and they went there often to worship. The buffalo skull is still on top of this big high rock and can be seen on the highest point.
What is the best time to visit Devils Tower? ›
Traffic patterns at the monument are similar to those of national park areas throughout the West. Expect the highest visitation from June through August, with lower visitation in the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October; the lowest visitation is during winter. Parking is limited in summer.How long should you spend at Devils Tower? ›
The park rangers recommend that you spend 2-4 hours at Devils Tower. We think you should budget for a half day in the park to give yourself enough time to enjoy it. This will give you enough time to hike the Tower Loop Trail, check out Prairie Dog Town and see the Circle of Sacred Smoke sculpture.Are there bears near Devils Tower? ›
As a low population county in a low population state we have phenomenal wildlife habitat and a variety of wildlife species for you to spot. Elk, moose, mule deer, whitetail deer, wild turkey, prairie dog, bald eagle, black bear and sage grouse are just a few of the species present in the county.Are there snakes at Devils Tower? ›
Aside from a few exceptions, most of the reptiles seen at Devils Tower National Monument are snakes. Only one venomous species is present: the prairie rattlesnake. The most commonly seen reptile is the bullsnake (or gopher snake). These frequent the area around the Tower Trail, especially in early summer.