Devils Tower

Devils Tower, scenic sunrise, Wyoming

Devil’s Tower (SV), known as Bear Lodge by many Native American tribes, is a striking geological feature located in the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming, USA. It rises dramatically with its sheer rock faces and distinctive columnar formations, making it a prominent and unmistakable landmark.

Devil’s Tower is a United States National Monument, established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It attracts climbers, hikers, and tourists from around the world. The National Park Service manages the site, balancing the preservation of its geological and cultural integrity with its use for recreation and tourism.

Geologists believe that Devil’s Tower formed by the intrusion of igneous material. The rocks of the Tower were formed by molten rock that intruded into existing rocks and cooled underground, likely millions of years ago. The vertical columns are the result of the contraction and cracking of this igneous intrusion as it cooled. The name “Devil’s Tower” was attributed during an 1875 scientific expedition led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge. The Native American name “Bear Lodge” was mistakenly translated to “Bad God’s Tower,” which eventually led to its current name.

Devil’s Tower holds a sacred place in the cultures of several Native American tribes, including the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. Many tribes have their own names for it, such as “Bear Lodge,” “Bear’s House,” “Home of the Bear,” or “Tree Rock.” Various Native American myths surround Devil’s Tower. A common theme in these stories involves a bear. In one popular legend, the vertical marks on the sides of the Tower are said to be the claw marks of a giant bear, which had chased a group of girls who were then lifted to the sky by the Great Spirit, where they became the stars of the Pleiades.

Devil’s Tower at sunset Wyoming

The area around Devil’s Tower is still used for ceremonial purposes by Native Americans. Many tribes perform religious and cultural rituals there, including sun dances, sweat lodge ceremonies, and prayer offerings.

Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Devil’s Tower gained widespread recognition in modern culture, most notably in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 science fiction film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” In the movie, the Tower is a central plot element and is depicted as the location of a climactic meeting between humans and extraterrestrial beings. This film significantly increased public awareness and interest in Devil’s Tower, contributing to its status as a popular tourist destination.


State: Wyoming
Nearest Town: The closest significant town is Sundance, Wyoming, about 27 miles to the east. Another nearby town is Hulett, Wyoming, approximately 9 miles to the north.

How to Get There:

By Car:

  • Rapid City: South Dakota: Take Interstate 90 west towards Spearfish, South Dakota, and then continue on US Highway 14 west to Sundance.
  • Sundance: take US Highway 14 north to Wyoming Highway 24, leading directly to the monument .
  • Casper: Wyoming: Take Interstate 25 north and then US Highway 20 north to Newcastle, Wyoming.
  • Newcastle: take US Highway 16/US Highway 85 north to Interstate 90 east, then follow the same route via Sundance as described above.

By Air: The nearest major airport is in Rapid City, South Dakota. From there, you can rent a car and drive to the monument following the directions mentioned above.
Smaller regional airports are also located in Gillette and Casper, Wyoming.

Public Transportation: There’s no direct public transportation. The most feasible option is to fly to a nearby city and rent a car.

Tips for Visitors: Check Road Conditions: Especially in winter, it’s a good idea to check the road conditions and weather forecasts.
Visitor Center: Upon arrival, stop by the National Monument Visitor Center for maps, information, and any required permits (especially if you plan to climb).

Devil’s Tower is a relatively easy destination to reach by car, and the journey offers a scenic drive through the picturesque landscapes of Wyoming and the Black Hills.

Traveler Best Hotel Picks

Devils Tower Lodge
Devils Tower Lodge

Sawin' Logs Inn
Sawin’ Logs Inn

 The Lodge at Devils Tower

Accommodations: The closest motels near Devil’s Tower are Devil’s Tower Lodge The Lodge at Devil’s Tower, and Sawin’ Logs Inn.

There are also campgrounds near Devil’s Tower, and hotels or motels can be found in the nearby towns of Sundance and Hulett. Bearlodge Mountain Resort and RV, and Bear Lodge Motel are located in Sundance.

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