Devils Tower National Monument, rising nearly 900 feet from its base, and dominating the skyline for several miles was our destination for today. We had another early morning start for the 110-mile drive northwest back to Wyoming. Of course, we didn’t take the most direct route because we wanted to see a little more of the countryside. Instead, we created a bit of a loop drive which turned out to be more like 300 miles for the day.
Devils Tower is a spire of hardened magma--an igneous intrusion. Rather than being pushed upward by volcanic forces, the tower was formed by erosion over the course of millions of years as wind and water have scraped away all the surrounding landscape. Today, the top of the tower (1.5 acres) is 1,267 feet above the river. The diameter at the base is 1,000 feet.
|Circle of Sacred Smoke|
Devils Tower became the nations first National Monument in 1906. Besides a sightseeing destination, it has become a popular destination for climbers. First climbed in 1893, it has about 5000 climbers each year. We saw several climbers clutched to these seemingly sheer walls today. We were happy to stay on the paved path which circles the tower, well out of the climber’s way.
Also included within the park boundaries are several short trails, including the 1.3 mile paved interpretative trail around the base, a Visitor Center, campground and picnic area.
It was a full day with the visit and our long ride, but we enjoyed seeing Devils Tower.
Tomorrow it is cave day with both Wind Cave and Jewel Cave.