Devils Tower National Monument is located in the northeastern region of Wyoming. This 1347-acre monument is open year-round. The focal point of this park is Devils Tower, which was given its name during an 1875 expedition by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge. Dodge’s interpreter misinterpreted the name as “Bad God’s Tower.” The tower stands 867 feet from the base to the summit. It looms 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. The tower is considered a sacred location to Native Americans; a place for vision questions and ceremonies.
When visiting Devils Tower National Monument, you’ll find there is much to explore. Take a hike around the paved trail near the base of the tower or take a more rugged hike for views of the Belle Fourche River Valley. Climbing is popular at the tower, with its many cracks and crevices of varying sizes. Devils Tower has little light pollution so visitors get clear views of the night sky. Many ranger programs are offered during the summer months, including an astronomy program.
There is a campground at the monument for those looking to stay overnight. Belle Fourche River Campground has 46 campsites, 43 of which can accommodate RVs. There are no hookups at any of the campsites. Campers will need to come prepared with extra supplies for dry camping. While the monument is open year-round the campground is open during the peak season, from May to October.
Devils Tower National Monument is located in Devils Tower, Wyoming. The area is known as the Black Hills Region. While most of the mountainous Black Hills are in South Dakota, a small section extends south into Wyoming.
It is advised to check the weather before making the trip out to the park, especially if visiting during the offseason. Snowfall and wet weather can make some roads difficult to navigate and some areas of the monument may be closed.
The Black Hills Region becomes busy in the summer months and Devils Tower is no exception. There is limited parking at the monument with 200 spaces at the visitor center. The parking lot is often filled to capacity early in the day in the summer. Those with RVs and trailers can park along the shoulder of the main road. There is also additional parking at the monument in less crowded areas.
Belle Fourche River Campground has 46 campsites in two loops. There are 43 pull-through sites that can accommodate RVs and travel trailers up to 35 feet. Each site has a campfire ring and picnic table. There are no hookups, so come prepared for dry camping. Water spigots are located throughout the campground. The campground has restrooms with flush toilets.
These campsites are open from May to October as weather permits on a first-come, first-served basis. Lingering or early snow may cause the campground to open late or close earlier than planned. Check conditions prior to your trip.
Devils Tower has a picnic area under the shade of oak and cottonwood trees. There are several picnic tables and a picnic shelter. Enjoy the fresh Wyoming air and beautiful scenery, including a view of Devils Tower.
Other monument attractions, including prairie dog town, are just a short walk from the picnic area. There are restrooms nearby as well.
There are several interconnecting hiking trails at the national monument. These trails lead visitors to beautiful views and scenery and allow them to explore the geology of the area.
The most popular hike in the park is Tower Trail. This 1.3-mile trail is paved and is fun for all ages. Those looking for a more rugged hiking experience may want to head over to Red Buds Trail. The 2.8 mile loop trail rewards hikers with views of Devils Tower and the Belle Fourche River Valley. Pets are not allowed on any of the trails.
While visiting, be sure to stop in at Devils Tower National Monument Visitor Center. The visitor center was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. Today, it has several interpretive displays about the monument and surrounding area. Park information, including maps, is available here. For those looking to bring home gifts or souvenirs, there is a bookstore and souvenir shop to peruse.
Many ranger programs run during the peak season from May to September. Short ranger talks are offered with topics ranging from the history of the area to stories about the park. Ranger-guided hikes teach visitors more about the monument’s geology. The astronomy program teaches visitors about the many constellations and attendees will be able to view these constellations through telescopes.
Be sure to check the program schedule during your stay to learn more about the monument, history, and geology of the area.
Devils Tower National Monument is a popular destination for climbing. There are hundreds of cracks that divide the tower into hexagonal columns. Some cracks are small, with barely enough room to fit your fingers and others are wide enough for an entire body.
If you're planning to climb, you’ll need to register first and turn in a return slip once you’ve finished. Some climbing routes are occasionally closed, be sure to check with the climbing office on the status of each route.
With little light pollution, Devils Tower provides a great opportunity for viewing the night sky. There are two locations that are recommended for stargazing. The first is Joyner Ridge Parking Lot and Trail. Joyner Ridge provides an optimal view of the tower.
The second location is the Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture and Picnic Area. There are very few trees here to inhibit the view and also has a great view of the tower. Both locations are great for capturing photos of the starry sky.