This update covers our visit to Devils Tower National Monument. Devils Tower National Monument, which looms more than 1,200 feet above Wyoming’s eastern plains and the Belle Fourche River, is a one-of-a-kind natural wonder. The flat-topped volcanic formation is found amid some of the state’s most beautiful country.
We enjoyed a driving tour of many small towns in Wyoming after viewing Devils Tower. I will be putting all the towns in another update soon.
Our first stop was the Devils Tower Visitor Center to learn more about the tower’s geology as well as the culture and history of the area through historical photos and other displays. You can also hike along eight miles of nature trails near the monument. The most popular is 1.3-mile paved circuit around the massive rock formation, while others wind in and around the surrounding forest and meadowlands. April, May and June are popular with wildflower lovers — nearly 60 varieties of wildflowers have been spotted in the area. I took so many pictures of these awesome flowers, they were incredible, they covered hills for miles.
Some brave people even climb it! The tower’s sheer rock faces and hundreds of columns and cracks are a siren song for climbers. The tower closes to climbers during the month of June due to a voluntary climbing ban out of respect for American Indian traditional cultural activities that occur during that month. Also known as Bears Lodge, the tower is considered a sacred worship site by many Native Americans who leave colorful prayer cloths tied to trees near its base.
Devils Tower Trivia
In 1906, Teddy Roosevelt named the tower the United States’ first national monument.
It had a starring role in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
According to the park service, “When the proclamation establishing Devils Tower was published, the apostrophe was unintentionally dropped from 'Devil’s' — and this clerical error was never officially corrected.”
After seeing this awesome monument we parked by the prairie dog village and watched them for a while. They ran all over the field going in and out of holes for miles. Some of them even came right up to the car.
It was another awesome day of exploring, check back later for more. I am also pasting a very interesting story below for those who would like to read it.
The Devils Tower legends and early history - how it got its name, and how it was formed as told by the American Indian Tribes.
Long ago, two young Indian boys found themselves lost on the great prairie. They had played together one afternoon and had wandered far out of the village. Then they had shot their bows still farther out into the sagebrush. Then they had heard a small animal make a noise and had gone to investigate. They had come to a stream with many colorful pebbles and followed that for a while. They had come to a hill and wanted to see what was on the other side. On the other side they saw a herd of antelope and, of course, had to track them for a while. When they got hungry and thought it was time to go home, the two boys found that they didn't know where they were. They started off in the direction where they thought their village was, but only got farther and farther away from it. At last they curled up beneath a tree and went to sleep. They got up the next morning and walked some more, still traveling the wrong way. They ate some wild berries and dug up wild turnips, found some chokecherries, and drank water from streams. For three days they walked toward the west. They were footsore, but they survived. How they wished that their parents, or elder brothers and sisters or tribe members would find them as they walked on what is now the plains of Wyoming. But nobody did. On the fourth day the boys suddenly had a feeling that they were being followed. They looked around and in the distance saw Mato, the bear. This was no ordinary bear, but a giant bear, so huge that the boys would make only a small mouthful for him. He had smelled the boys and came in search of that mouthful. He came so close that the earth trembled with each step he took. The boys started running, looking for a place to hide, they found none. The grizzly was much, much faster than they. They stumbled, and the bear was almost upon them. They could see his red, wide-open jaws full of enormous teeth. They could smell his hot breath. The boys were old enough to have learned to pray, and the called upon Wakan Tanka, the Creator: "Tunkashila, Grandfather, have pity, save us."
All at once the earth shook and began to rise. The boys rose with it. Out of the earth came a cone of rock going up, up, up until it rose more than a thousand feet high. And the boys were on top of it. Mato the bear was disappointed to see his meal disappearing into the clouds. This grizzly was so huge that he could almost reach to the top of the rock when he stood on his hind legs. Almost, but not quite. His claws were as large as a tipi's lodge poles. Frantically Mato dug his claws into the side of the rock, trying to get up, trying to eat those boys. As he did so, he made big scratches in the sides of the towering rock. He tried every spot, every side. He scratched up the rock all around, but it was no use. They boys watched him wearing himself out, getting tired, giving up. They finally saw him going away, a huge, growling, grunting mountain disappearing over the horizon. The boys were saved by Wanblee, the eagle, who has always been a friend to our people. It was the great eagle that let the boys grab hold of him and carried them safely back to their village.