Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
ashbourne, United Kingdom
August 28, 2011
From journal Wandering in Wyoming
by Mandan Lynn
Smithwick, South Dakota
August 29, 2007
From journal My Black Hills
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 8, 2006
This trail is not handicap accessible and it has both some minor elevation change - and with that - natural "steps" to be negotiated. All that and I still listed it as a beginner hike because I DO feel it's a beginner HIKE. It's not a stroll on a boardwalk, and some older (or out of shape) folks might want to take breaks here and there. We called those excuses to look for and/or watch climbers. It's not at all a dangerous hike - unless you run into someone/something - or miss your step - while gazing up at the Tower. Some younger children we saw were bored towards the end. Our "mountain goats" (that would be our hiking nickname for our boys), loved it and probably could have lapped us - while still spotting climbers and taking opportunities to climb boulders and walk on fallen trees in places.
There's a section of this hike where you can see fallen columns - giving your mind more reason to marvel at the bravery(?) of the climbers out there... as well as a new sense of awe at the size of what you are looking at. Take some time to see if you can see where the pieces came from... We had fun wondering what we'd do if we saw one falling... (which direction to go, etc).
There's also a section where they have "scopes" trying to point out remnants of an old wooden ladder that used to be used for climbing. We spotted the ladder, but not really using the scopes (other than a general direction). Personal binoculars were better. Neither of these are viewable without doing the hike.
As with all hikes, take water, and if doing this one in the middle of the day during the summer, expect heat. We did it a little more towards late afternoon and it was perfect timing for weather and seeing climbers. Afterwards it was a fairly easy drive to Gillette to spend the night (nearest spot heading west for motel options). Our trip had us camping the next 4 nights at Yellowstone, so we wanted a decent shower...
From journal 2006 Trip Pt 2 - WY - Devil's Tower to Yellowstone
I had imagined Devil's Tower to be red - similar to the monuments in Monument Valley (Utah) - I'm not quite sure why I thought that... but it's wrong. Devil's Tower is gray - AND it's not "one piece" as those other towers are. It's actually broken into unusual vertical columns each generally having 5 or 6 sides. It's cooled magma that hardened into these columns while cooling underground - while all the rest of the land surrounding it was not (that's sedimentary rock). Beyond that, even scientists disagree on exactly what it was... making for a neat mystery still unanswered (there are theories).
It's not a long drive out of the way from Rapid City to Yellowstone, so there's no (real) reason to bypass it. You can see the tower easily from the road, so if you're on a tight budget, that could suffice, but I don't recommend it and folks that have done that haven't been nearly as impressed with it. If you have the National Park pass getting in is free - without it, there's a per car charge. The view from up close is well worth the fee. Why come all this way and NOT see it up close?
On your way up (or down) take a break from looking at the tower to enjoy the Prairie Dog town - just don't be like one family that was letting their kids go out and chase, harass, and kick in their holes (folks like that lose ALL respect from us). Fortunately, a ranger had been informed of their activities and put an end to it - hopefully with a decent fine.
Once you get to the top you'll find a Visitor's Center that is informative - along with a small gift shop and those all-important restrooms. It's a short walk to the base of the tower - and look closely to see if there are climbers - seeing them gives the best perspective of the height of the tower (almost 1300 feet). Anyone is free to climb on the large boulders at the base of the tower (kids love them), but if you're looking to really climb - check with organizations for more info. Climbers are allowed on three sides. The fourth side was reserved for nesting falcons and other birds.
They have 3 main hikes here - and almost everyone, present company included - does the Tower Trail (see journal entry).
There's no food here - or gas - and the only lodging is a basic campground. There are a couple small restaurants outside the park - as well as a handful of climbing outfits. Otherwise, you're in rural Wyoming. You'll see more deer and antelope than people. To me, that's part of the beauty of Wyoming...
September 5, 2005
After the park entrance, before you reach the Tower, there is a Prairie Dog Town on both sides of the road. There are hundreds of prairie dogs popping in and out of their holes. There are some parking areas so you can park and take photos of the prairie dogs, as well as the beautiful views.
At the parking area for the monument, there is a small visitor’s center with restrooms, a bookstore, and a few exhibits. There are a few telescopes so you can view the Tower. Some people were climbing the Tower the day we visited, and we saw a few people reach the top.
There is a 1.5-mile hike around the monument. We decided to take the walk, and we’re glad we did. You can view the Tower from many different angles, and there were nice views of the valleys below. We also saw some deer along the way.
I had wanted to see Devils Tower since I’d first seen it in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." It was as impressive as I expected it to be!
From journal Summer week in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota
Ellicott City, Maryland
July 29, 2003
As you leave the Colorado foothills, north on I-25 into Wyoming and split at Cheyenne onto U.S. 85, expect flat terrain through places like Chugwater, Torrington, Lusk and Bill. But as you near windswept Gillette and Hulett, you might expect the dramatic suddenness with which Richard Dreyfuss first saw Devil’s Tower in the 1977 classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." However, unlike that character, expect to gradually view the monolithic volcanic neck as you approach and enter Devils Tower National Monument on the banks of northeastern Wyoming’s Belle Fourche River.
Once there, you can easily park, check out the visitors’ center, then circumnavigate the granite formation on any of three concentric hiking paths. Each affords a different view of the formation. The shortest, which I took, winds rather close to the dense brush. This proximity gives you a feel for the tower’s vertical scale as you can readily spot its climbers. Or, climb it yourself if you pre-register with a park ranger.
Stroll a while and peruse easy-to-read signs such as "Collapsing Tower" and "Impossible to Climb." Learn about the fool who parachuted to the summit one July Fourth only to remain for days because high winds prevented his rescue. Then, from a safe distance, glance at the dangerous prairie dogs burrowing in their "world surrounded by fangs."
Named in 1875, Devils Tower itself is a 1,280-foot tall prehistoric volcanic neck which glacially revealed itself over eons as the surrounding plains eroded away. These vertical striations have spawned numerous Native American explanations including a lovely one in which bears chased seven maidens to a tree stump which saved them by magically rising to the heavens to become the constellation Plieades ("The Seven Sisters.") As the bears tried to climb the rising stump, their claws marked the stump as it turned to stone.
Next, it’s east into the Black Hills of South Dakota via a "long cut" through Alzada in Montana’s southeast corner.
From journal Circuit of Stone
Saint Paul, Minnesota
July 5, 2003
This tower was once the core of a volcano. But the molten core remained as a plug and very slowly cooled in place. This slow process allowd the lava to crystallize into octagonal needles a thousand feet long and perhaps 6-10 feet across These parallel needles, bundled like straw, form the tower and account for the grooved appearance. That strange appearance coined the Indian name "Bear Lodge" and the legend that three girls, chased by a bear, climbed a tree stump and prayed for deliverance. The Great Spirit made the stump grow out of the bear's reach. But in his fury, the bear clawed the trunk, accounting for the grooving.
Our own arrival at Devils Tower was equally mystic. It was in the heart of a thunderstorm, the sky was black, the ground covered by hail, and the tower lit by lightening. Scary to be sure, but also awesome. And awesome to consider - the span of time for the volcanic core to cool, and the land around it to erode away, leaving this 1267 ft platform in the sky. And after all that, so hard and resistant was the crystallized basalt that the huge crystals today, though sometimes fractured and broken, are as sharp edged and clean as if carved yesterday by Zeus himself.
Imagine our surprise when driving the rim of Yellowstone's Grand Canyon to see, like a snow fence atop the canyon wall, a line of the same huge basalt crystals. And if it's awesome to see these footprints in the sands of time -- just think what it would be like to be there when they were made!
Also see .
From journal Camp and condo in Yellowstone and Grand Teton
by Jim Rosenberg
October 5, 2000
From journal Rapid City: Black Hills-Badlands Road Trip