On the winding back roads of northeast Wyoming, lies America’s first national monument, Devils Tower. This is an amazing site, which was created millions of years ago through geological processes including igneous intrusion and sedimentary erosion.
However, the legends of the creation Devils Tower are much more exciting and imaginative. Although the legends varies slightly, it has been said that there were several Indian children playing nearby when all of a sudden they were attacked by a great bear. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit caused the land in this magical area to rise beneath them, lifting them safely into the air on top of this massive butte. As the bear tried to get them, his claws scratched the tower, leaving the signature markings around the monolith. Eventually, the bear fell to his death and the girls became seven stars.
There’s a variety of activities at the monument including wildlife spotting, camping, hiking, and rock climbing. It is one of the best crack climbing sites in North America. Thousands of people come every year to climb the 200+ routes available on the tower, which stands 1,267 feet above the Bell Fouche River. Visitors can walk around trails at the base, but in order to cross on to the boulder field or to climb the tower, you must obtain a permit. Because the American Indians view Devils Tower as a sacred place, it is asked that you respect the area and stay on designated routes. Since we visited in December, we nearly had the place to ourselves.
Admission is $10 or you can use your National Parks pass. It’s a bit out of the way, but well worth the visit if you are somewhere nearby, like the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a highly popular stop for bikers on their way to the annual Sturgis Rallies. You can also see the tower in the distance by looking north when driving on I-90.
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