Devils Tower Things to Do

  • Detail of the Tower Face (note the tiny climber)
    Detail of the Tower Face (note the tiny...
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  • Base of the Tower
    Base of the Tower
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  • Forest Trail at the Base of Tower
    Forest Trail at the Base of Tower
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Best Rated Things to Do in Devils Tower

  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the Prairie Dogs

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated Dec 13, 2011

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    Prairie Dogs on Approach to Devils Tower
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    Entering the park you will see an area with what appear to be mounds of dirt with lots of cars parked nearby taking pictures. Upon closer inspection these are the burrows of prairie dogs. These adorable little rodents once covered tens of thousands of acres throughout the west however today their territory is limited to less than 2% of what it was 200 years ago. Wyoming and South Dakota have many preserves.

    Prairie dogs eat mainly grasses, forbs and insects. They are highly social characters. Their burrow structure is fascinating and there are often times several entrance points to each prairie dogs home. The little guys love to bask in the sun at the top of a burrow when they know that it is safe. If you watch and wait outside long enough you will hear a prairie dog warn of a predator with a high screeching call much like a dog.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Walk around the Tower

    by toonsarah Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Devil's Tower (note prayer ribbons in foreground)
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    Many visitors to the Devil’s Tower apparently simply drive to the parking lot at the Visitor Center and look at the Tower from there without taking another step. OK, for some people that’s as much as they can manage and I can really understand that, but if you are just a little bit fit then you can definitely do this walk.

    The trail is 1.3 miles in length and after the initial fairly steep climb that gets you closer to the base of the Tower it’s pretty level and paved throughout, making it easy walking with just few ups and downs. There are also benches provided at various points. Interpretive boards along the way provide interesting snippets of information about the formation of the Tower, geology and local wildlife.

    Following this trail allows you to see the Tower from all sides and appreciate its scale. It also allows you to get away from the crowds! If you can, take some binoculars along with you and pause from time to time to scan the face of the rock for climbers both human and animal – we spotted prairie dogs way up high and a couple of vultures’ nests. Another thing that fascinated me were the various prayer bundles and ribbons tied to the trees around the base by Native Americans, who believe that this is a sacred place – the atmosphere was such that I could really understand this belief.

    The website and the information leaflet we were given tells you it will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete this walk but we took a little longer than that because we kept stopping to stare at the Tower, to enjoy the serenity of the surrounding woods, and to chat to the few other visitors we met along the way.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Prairie Dog Town

    by toonsarah Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Prairie dog (photo by Chris)

    After you enter the park surrounding Devil’s Tower look out on your left for several pull-outs. Park and look carefully at the grassy area next to the road. You’ll see lots of prairie dogs – popping in and out of their burrows, nibbling at the grass and other vegetation, and pausing from time to time to check out the tourists and make sure there’s no danger nearby. I really enjoyed watching their behaviour and their interactions with each other.

    If you want to find out more about prairie dogs you can buy an interesting little leaflet from a box in the parking area for only a few cents. It describes their burrows, communication systems, what they eat and how they organise themselves and raise their young. For instance, I knew that prairie dogs warn of approaching danger by emitting a series of "barks," but not that they have specific barks for specific dangers, e.g. for a hawk they use a higher pitched and shorter bark.

    It's very important that you don't feed the prairie dogs. Human food is hard for them dogs to digest and often contains additives that can make them sick. Also, prairie dogs are wild animals and can inflict a painful bite. They may also be host to fleas that can transmit bubonic plague to humans.

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Tower Trail

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Dec 13, 2011

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    Devils Tower From Tower Trail
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    If you are not a rock climber the best way to get a feel for Devils Tower is taking a hike. The most popular hike is the Tower Trail. The 1.3 mile trail winds around the tower. Just a few gradual rises and drops but basically the trail is flat and I would rate it easy. There are several postings along the trail that describe the history, the rock itself and the flora you are looking at. The trail took us about an hour and a half because we made so many stops and took a lot of pictures.

    It is best to take the trail either early in the morning or late in the afternoon when there are fewer people on it. Around sunset, weather permitting, it provides a great backdrop for pictures.

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Devils Tower NPS Visitor Center

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Dec 13, 2011

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    Devils Tower from the Visitors Center Parking Lot

    The visitors center at Devils Tower is small and cramped. The exhibits are informative but in need of updating. The building almost looks like a log cabin.

    Despite these shortcomings the staff at the visitors center are extremely helpful in answering questions about things to see, programs during the day and evening and information about climbing the tower.

    The visitors center is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm.

    Right outside of the visitors center through one side of the parking lot is a mini amphitheater where the rangers give talks. Straight ahead is the Devils Tower in all of its glory.

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  • Rabbityama's Profile Photo

    Devil's Tower From All Angles!

    by Rabbityama Written Oct 22, 2005

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    Devil's Tower

    At Devil's Tower, there are many trails available to visitors to walk on. If you like to walk, you may want to take some of the longer trails, but if you just want to see the tower, then I suggest taking the trail that encircles the monument. To walk around it, take pictures, and admire Devil's Tower, I'd say you can expect to spend about an hour there. If you walk non-stop or if you rest/stop and look at the tower, it may take you more or less time.

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  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo

    Hike around it to see it from all sides!

    by xoxoxenophile Written Apr 29, 2013

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    Devils Tower from the hiking trail
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    Devils Tower is basically a very large rock (almost 1300ft high) protruding out of the middle of an otherwise fairly barren part of Wyoming. It is also the first National Monument, established by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The name comes from a badly-translated Native American name for the place, but it stuck and led to some pretty hokey souvenirs in the gift shop/restaurant (tourist trap) that is along the entrance to the Tower (I still recommend checking out the tourist-trap part of course).

    I have been to Devils Tower at least twice, possibly three times. I very much enjoy the place--it's very beautiful and serene, in the middle of a bit of forest. There is a hiking trail that goes all the way around Devils Tower, so you can get a 360-degree view of the laccolith. I love hiking the trail, as well as climbing around on the large boulders at the base of Devils Tower and throughout the area. You can usually see people climbing up the tower as well, which is always an interesting sight. More serious rock climbers might enjoy the challenge of Devils Tower and the view from the top, not just the beautiful views along the hike around the base which I enjoy.

    You may see prayer flags (pieces of colored fabric) tied in the trees as you hike around Devils Tower. Please remember that this is a sacred site for many Native Americans, and respect that by staying on the trail.

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  • kazander's Profile Photo

    Prairrie Dog Town

    by kazander Updated Oct 25, 2006

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    Prairrie Dog

    As if this impresive monument wasn't enough, you get the added treat of hanging out with hundreds of prairrie dogs! After entering the park, you begin driving a circular road around the base of the tower. Prairrie dog town is not far along this road. You'll see the numerous pullofffs with an open expanse of land on either side of the road. You will see tons of little dirt mounds, and when you stop to look closer, you can see tons of little Prairrie dogs scurrying about! These guys are worth spending some time with, they are so adorable! Please don't feed them though, they get very sick when they ingest people food!

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Geological Basics: Tower Formation

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    While geologists agree that Devil's Tower is an igneous extrusion, their remains some disagreement over whether this is the remains of a volcanic plug or is a laccolith. The latter seems most likely as there are no other volcanoes in the area, while igneous magma is fairly common. Along the trail, there is an excellent visual display that shows how the magma rose and cooled into a structure composed of six sided columns, a very strong natural formation. Basically, the magma is expanded by heat, but as it cools stress points form within a perfect matrix. These stress points create fractures that form equally sized six sided structures.

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Joynier Ridge Trail

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    View from the Joynier Trail at Devil's Tower
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    After crossing the bridge, there's a trail head, and then a fork. Go left and follow the Joynier Ridge Trail which ends at the Devil's Tower Visitor's Center near the base of the tower itself. This trail's best feature are the sandstone tertiary period strata and balancing magma stones. There's also some great views of the river basin from above. This is about a 1.5 mile hike on an uphill trail. It's pretty easy, really.

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Tower Trail

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    Devil's Tower Trail
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    The paved tower trail is the way most visitors, old and young, appreciate Devil's Tower. The 1 mile trail circumnavigates the tower, and has numerous explanatory notes and diagrams. There are benches, binoculars, and even drinking fountains in places. This trail is wheel chair accessible.

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    Climbing the Boulder Field

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    Looking Straight Up Devil's Tower
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    Along the shaded side of the tower trail, I got the urge to simply get off trail and climb big boulders. Whitney followed me. Ambling over big rocks was at first easy, but as we approached the base of the tower it became much harder climbing, especially for my little dog. Eventually, we came across a sign warning that registration was required for climbing the tower. I only climbed a little further past this point to get this vertical shot image of the tower.

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Climbing Devil's Tower

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    Climbing Devil's Tower
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    This is world class climbing where ropes and special equipment are required. Nevertheless, from what I saw, this appeared to be a climb made easier by the amble chimney cracks providing a place to put the wedges. Check out these photos...

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Geological Basics: Triassic Period Strata

    by atufft Updated Sep 1, 2013

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    Spearfish Formation in Wyoming's Black Hills
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    The earliest sedimentary strata in the region is the distinctively red iron rich soil known as the Spearfish Formation, deposited when the region was covered by a shallow inland sea, present here between 225 to 195 million years ago, during what's described as the Triassic Period. The stunning wealth of red and the sparsely planted ponderosa pine forest that is part of this strata is cause enough to visit the region. At the bottom of this are thick grasslands and the Belle Fourche River.

    Above this are layers of white gypsum, deposited during the Jurassic period, 195 to 136 million years ago, as the seas tended to come and go over long periods of time. The remains of marsh deposits--grey-green shale--are known as the Stockade Beaver member, which is also Jurassic in origin.

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    Geological Basics: Tertiary Period Strata

    by atufft Written Sep 1, 2013

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    Hulett Sandstone Strata
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    Above the red Spearfish layer, encircling Devils Tower, is a distinctive and durable yellow sandstone which appears worn by water, having deep pockets and exposed formations. This is part of the Sundance Formation, more specifically labeled at the Hulett Sandstone member. The seas advanced and retreated prior to the uplifting that created the Rocky Mountains and the Black Hills, which began 50 to 60 million years ago.

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