Devils Tower National Monument
Just across the South Dakota border in Wyoming, Devils Tower National Monument towers over 1,000 feet above the Belle Fourche River, creating one of the most striking naturally formed landscapes in the country. The astounding geologic feature stretches directly upward, an isolated monolith looming high above the forests and rolling prairie meadows surrounding the Black Hills.
Devils Tower is located northwest of Rapid City on US Hwy 14 and WY Hwy 24. From Rapid City, visitors can enjoy a 107-mile scenic cruise through the Black Hills to Devils Tower National Monument. Devils Tower is one of several parks and monuments surrounding Rapid City available to explore.
The Visitor Center is open year-round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Visitors can browse exhibits about the geological, natural and cultural history of the monument.
For more information, call 605-718-8484 or visit the Devils Tower page on the National Parks Service website.
A full schedule of interpretive activities and ranger-led programs is offered Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, with a modified schedule in September and October. Programs include a tower walk, natural and cultural talks, a Junior Ranger Program and evening programs held under the stars. A full listing of programs is available in the Visitor Center.
For nearby lodging check out places to stay in Rapid City.
DID YOU KNOW…
- Devils Tower National Monument is 1,267 feet tall and rises at a seemingly 90-degree vertical from the ground.
- In 1906, Devils Tower National Monument was proclaimed the nation’s first national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Devils Tower showcases multiple layers of sediment and stone, the oldest of which dates back over 200 million years to the Triassic period.
A visit to Devils Tower National Monument promises a variety of activities and adventures for you to enjoy. From camping to climbing to stargazing, the natural wonder of Devils Tower offers a wealth of exciting discovery.
ROCK CLIMBING AT DEVILS TOWER
Vertical faces of igneous rock with hundreds of parallel cracks make Devils Tower one of the most appealing rock climbing areas around Rapid City and in North America. Technical rock climbing is permitted, but all climbers must register at the Visitor Center before climbing, and then check-in afterwards upon departure. Because the site is considered sacred by Native American tribes, there is a voluntary climbing closure during the month of June.
DEVILS TOWER HIKING TRAILS
In addition to the hiking trails in and around Rapid City, there are approximately eight miles of hiking trails at Devils Tower that take you around the monument. Some of the popular paths are paved and accessible, while others take you through forests and prairie meadows.
WILDLIFE AT DEVILS TOWER
Devils Tower National Monument and the surrounding area are home to a diverse range of plants and animals, making it a popular destination for wildlife viewing. You may spy bison, mule and white deer, porcupines, prairie dogs, bats, turkey and rattlesnakes among the Ponderosa Pine forests and cottonwood-dotted fields of the monument, or prairie falcons nesting in the cracks of Devils Tower.
Visiting Devils Tower promises natural wonder and Native American cultural discovery. A place of great spiritual significance, Devils Tower is considered sacred to over two-dozen Native American tribes. Traditional and modern cultural and spiritual ceremonial activities continue here, including prayer offerings, vision quests and the Sun Dance.
THE LEGENDS OF DEVILS TOWER
There are many stories among Native American tribes surrounding the formation and spiritual significance of Devils Tower. One particular American Indian legend holds that Devils Tower sprang up from the earth just in time to save a group of warriors from a gigantic bear; the fluted nature of the tower formed as the bear pawed at the rock.