Well….This is for sure a bucket list item and Devil’s Tower lived up to its awe inspiring reputation!
On the drive in, the tower can be seen for over 30 miles!
About 50 million years ago, magma was forced from the ground into surrounding rock that then eroded over millions of years and left this incredible formation standing tall and alone in its place.
The tower is 867 ft from the base and 1,267 ft above the Belle Forche River that helped form and erode the surrounding area. She is 5,112 ft above sea level!
The Kiowa people tell a different story of her formation…according to the park brochure “Eight children were at play, seven sisters and their brother. Suddenly, the boy was stuck dumb; he trembled and began to run upon his hands and feet. His fingers became claws, and his body was covered in fur. Directly there was a bear where the boy had been. The sisters were terrified; they ran, and the bear after them. They came to the stump of a great tree, the tree spoke to them. It bade them to climb upon it, and as they did so it began to rise into the air. The bear came to kill them, but they were just beyond it’s reach. The bear reared against the tree and scored the bark all around with its claws. The seven sisters were borne into the sky, and they became the stars of Pleiades.”
The trail around the base of the tower is a nice 1.3 mile walk and gives way to incredible landscape!
I heard another description that suits the tower well…it almost looks like a handful of pencils! It really does. It is a majestic site to be sure!!!
Approximately, 5,000 people climb to the top every year! (What!?) A special permit is required and specific rules must be followed. Many of the climbers use the established prongs for their ropes and others brave the ascent bare-handed!!! The first ascent was made in 1893!
Many local tribes still consider “Bear Lodge” (the Native American name) a very sacred place. There are prayer cloths and beads in several locations.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Sturgis! The Sturgis bike rally began yesterday in Sturgis, South Dakota, a mere 79 miles from here. The official ride out here is tomorrow but plenty of Harley’s made the trip today. This whole area, and as far away and the Bighorn Mountains, are a big part of the rally day trips!
Unfortunately, Devil’s Tower is not very dog friendly. The girls are allowed to walk the lower grounds around the visitor center and in the parking areas but the tower really can be enjoyed just fine from those areas too!
On the way out is Prairie Dog Village!!! OMG!!!! Look at this guy!!! This large field is covered with very active prairie dogs and it’s as much a draw as the tower itself!!!
These prairie dogs are pretty used to people gawking at them and just go on about their business. There were easily 50 of them up and about in the field while we were there. The girls have a very different opinion about this location, as you can imagine, so I jumped out for a few shots and we moved along…
Heading home, this shot really shows the magnitude of Devil’s Tower. Of course, there is a trading post, restaurant and trinkets galore but the scale of the buildings really gives you a feel for the size of this incredible national treasure!!