The Devil’s Tower has long been a sacred place for many Native American tribes, including Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Shoshone. If you walk the Tower Trail you’ll see prayer bundles tied to the trees.
The Crow believe Devil’s Tower was "put there by the Great Spirit for a special reason, because it was different from other rocks." They tell this story about its origins:
Once some Crows were camped at Bears House, and two little girls were playing around some big rocks there. There were lots of bears living around the rock and one big bear seeing the girls alone went to eat them. The big bear was just about to catch the girls when they saw him. The girls were scared and to escape they climbed on top of one of the rocks around which they had been playing.
They climbed the rock but the bear could still reach up to catch them. The Great Spirit, seeing this, caused the rock to grow up out of the ground. The bear kept trying to jump to the top of the rock, but he just scratched the rock and fell down on the ground. You can still see the claw marks on the rock to this day. The rock kept growing until it was so high that the bear could not get the girls, who some say are still on top of the rock.
Many of the other tribes have similar stories which you can read on the website: www.nps.gov/archive/deto/stories.htm
About 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore and a few miles north of Custer SD on US-16 is the still incomplete memorial to Crazy Horse, which was begun by Boston-born Korczak Ziolkowski about the time Rushmore was finished. Ziolkowski was on the staff of Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum, but unlike his better-known fellow artist, Ziolkowski nearly killed himself trying to do the majority of the work, which has removed over a million tons of rock but has only yielded the Sioux chief's face and vague outline. Crazy Horse's mount is still an odd outline in the granite of this Black Hills mountaintop, Thunderhead Mountain. This is still a work in progress, and if completed, it will be a full-figured memorial compared to which Mount Rushmore is only a quartet of granite busts.
Keyhole State Park & Reservoir located on the western edge of the famed Black Hills offers many attractions, as the area centers on a reservoir of approximately 13,000 acres, which is one of the largest lakes in the State of Wyoming. Visitors have the opportunity to view many type of wildlife including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, white tailed deer, red fox and wild turkeys. Keyhole is also a mecca for both resident and migrating birds of all species. Approximately 225 species of birds can be observed at Keyhole State Park or within a mile of park boundaries. During the summer the most abundant species include the White Pelican, Osprey, Common Yellowthroat and Savannah sparrow. Winter birds that are commonly observed in the area include Bald Eagles, Red and White-breasted Nuthatches and Red Crossbills; you can get a complete bird list at park headquarters. Keyhole Reservoir also offers excellent fishing for walleye, channel catfish, Smallmouth bass and northern pike. Keyhole is located on Wyoming Highway 113 from US Highway 14 between Moorcroft and the Tower. For an Interactive Map of the area and information on Scenic Drives you can visit the Web Site at www.pine-haven-wy.net/Devils_Tower/drive.html
Keyhole State ParkMany years ago, after being kidnapped and tortured, a man was murdered and thrown into the nearby river. People have reported seeing a misty figure lurking around the cabin nicknamed 'Little Keyhole.' The figure has also been spotted prior to accidents, as if warning of oncoming danger.
Though it is over 2 1/2 hours away by car, most people who visit Devils Tower will venture all the way to Mount Rushmore to take the natural and the artistic sculptures in tandem.