Devils Tower National Monument, Northeast Wyoming
This is another of those places we said wow, why haven't we been
here before. It's about 60 miles from Spearfish SD or Gillette
Wyoming so a day trip from either town is no problem. We visited
after Labor Day weekend when the crowds were light but even then the
parking was a little iffy. We arrived pretty early in the morning
and found a place for our camper and trailer but by later in the day
it was pretty tight.
Here's a run-down of the fees for all other days, which we think are very reasonable.
1-7 Day Vehicle Pass, $10
Admits a single private vehicle and all passengers.
There is a trail all the way around the base that's a little under a 1-1/2 mile hike. It's not difficult for most people and well worth the time. Take some snacks or a picnic lunch and plenty of water, then just mosey on around. You'll get a lot of spectacular views of the "rock" and plenty of photo opps.
There's plenty of debate about how the tower was formed and we're not here to get all "scientific". Suffice it to say it's a big rock sticking out of the ground that's worth seeing. It's NOT an old volcano. The statistics say it's 1267 ft. above the Belle Fourche river (pronounced bell foosh by all the locals we spoke to) and 867 ft. from the base to the top.
Rock climbers come from all
over the world for a chance to get to the top. The Park Service
seems to encourage this activity but the indians consider this place
sacred ground so there's a little difference of opinion. The Park
Service actually has a Climbing management Plan which includes a
Voluntary Climbing Closure in the month of June out of respect for
the American Indian culture. Non climbing tourists are asked to
respect this closure by not venturing off the designated base trail.
Do some homework on the NPS website if you plan to visit and
especially if you want to climb.
One of the reasons many people
visit this attraction, us included, is the chance to see a famous
movie location. We closely encountered (ouch) a few people on the
trail talking about it.