Devils Tower was named the United States’ first National Monument by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. Legend has it that its deep stripes were made by the tearing claws of a giant bear attempting to climb after seven girls who were saved when the rock grew from three feet high to its current 867 feet. You can see the girls today as the constellation Pleiades. The bear came to rest in Bear Butte State Park in South Dakota.
Tower Trail, Joyner Ridge Trail, Prairie Dog Town
Devils Tower is a distinctive 50-million-year-old volcanic plug, whose steep sides have been an irresistible challenge to rock climbers for years. Watch for them as you complete the 1.3-mile loop trail around the entire tower, as it looks different from every angle. Also look for the colorful prayer cloths left by Native Americans, many of whom would prefer this sacred site be renamed Bear Lodge National Monument.
Joyner Ridge Trail provides a unique view of the tower and forms a 1.5-mile loop or connects to the longer Red Beds Trail that circumnavigates it.
Visit in late September for fall foliage: golden quaking aspens and red chokecherry bushes.
$25 per vehicle or America The Beautiful pass
Long vehicles must park just below the visitor center and hike a short ways up. The short West Road to Joyner Ridge Trailhead is a good dirt road.
On the prairie below Devils Tower, a 50-site campground is located within a grove of cottonwood trees, with running water available May through October. A private campground with RV hookups is located near the park entrance.
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