Except for the beautiful Yellowstone/Grand Teton corner, Wyoming has never really been near the top of our favorite-places list. We just haven't found much of the rest of it to be our kind of place. But we kind of forgot about the national monument called Devil's Tower. To be more accurate, we didn't actually forget, we just forgot it was in Wyoming. Because when we went to see it, we were staying in Sturgis South Dakota. It was an easy day-trip from our RV Park, through farmlands and plains and across the pioneer Bismark Trail.
The Tower rises 1600+ feet above the Belle Fourche River, and so we were reminded about our 2004 visit just this past spring, when we stayed one night in the town of Belle Fourche, South Dakota. We remembered that we'd stopped there before on our way to the tower. We'd wondered then how to pronounce the name. ( Click here to see how and to read about our adventure there.)
President Theodore Roosevelt named Devil's Tower the first National Monument in 1906. The Park covers over 1300 acres of pine forests, woodlands (a rarity in this part of the country) and grasslands. As you can imagine, it is a prime location for rock climbers. We don't climb, but we hiked the 2-mile trail around the base, admiring how the Tower view changes on every side.
The Tower is a sacred site for regional American Indian tribes and it is closed during the month of June when there are ceremonial tribal gatherings. We were there in August and saw remnants of the prayer cloths used in these ceremonies.
Devil's Tower was an interesting and educational place to visit and a perfect day trip from Sturgis.
And I really feel bad that we've never given Wyoming credit for this scenic corner until until now.