Planning Your Devils Tower Adventure: Where to Stay and What to Expect

To make the most of your Devils Tower adventure, a little pre-trip planning goes a long way. This guide will equip you with the knowledge to choose the perfect accommodation, discover nearby attractions, and maximize your visit to this awe-inspiring landmark.

Devils Tower Adventure
Photo courtesy Mountaineer, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
To make the most of your Devils Tower adventure, a little pre-trip planning goes a long way.

 

Navigating Your Trip to Devils Tower

So, you’ve decided to grace the towering geological oddity known as Devils Tower with your presence, huh?

Devils Tower, minding its own business for millions of years, is a geological marvel rising from the plains of northeastern Wyoming, beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike.

And now, for some reason, you and your camera want to spend quality time with it.

This 867-foot tall butte, often referred to as a “monolith,” is steeped in history and offers a unique landscape for exploration.

Finding Your Home Base

Where you crash at night in the shadow of this giant rock depends on how you roll and how much cash you’re willing to part with. Options include:

  • Camping: Embrace the outdoors and camp under the vast Wyoming sky. Devils Tower National Monument offers a campground with basic amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. Campsites can be reserved in advance during peak season (typically summer months) to secure your spot, especially on weekends.
  • Hulett: This small town, located just 5 miles south of the National Monument entrance, offers a variety of motels and lodges. Hulett provides a convenient and affordable option, with some establishments boasting stunning views of Devils Tower that’ll make your Instagram followers green with envy.
  • Sundance: Not the film festival, but a town with a bit more buzz. Situated 18 miles east of Devils Tower, Sundance is a charming town with a wider selection of hotels and amenities. If you prefer a more developed area with restaurants and shops, Sundance might be the ideal base.
  • Spearfish, South Dakota: For those who like their adventures with a side of “slightly further away, consider staying in Spearfish, South Dakota, roughly 40 miles northeast of Devils Tower. This Black Hills town offers a variety of accommodations and attractions, making it a good choice for those planning to explore the broader region. It’s 40 miles from the Tower, in a place where “Black Hills” isn’t a coffee order. A solid choice if you’re also checking out the wider area.

What to Expect at Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument is a relatively small park, but it packs a punch in terms of scenery and activities. Here’s a glimpse into what awaits you:

  • Tower Trail: This 1.3-mile paved loop trail circumnavigates the base of Devils Tower, offering stunning close-up views and various interpretive signs detailing the geology and cultural significance of the landmark.
  • Hiking Trails: If you’re feeling adventurous, or just need to escape other tourists, venture beyond the Tower Trail. The Red Beds Trail, a 2.8-mile moderate loop, takes you through scenic valleys and offers breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding landscape. The Joyner Ridge Trail, a quieter 1.5-mile option, provides a peaceful escape with views of the Tower and excellent stargazing opportunities on clear nights.
  • Visitor Center: Start your Devils Tower experience at the visitor center, where you can learn about the park’s history, geology, flora, and fauna through exhibits and buy souvenirs you don’t need. Additionally, the visitor center provides restrooms, a bookstore, and a theater showcasing short films about the Tower. Junior Ranger programs are also available for children.

Beyond the Tower: Exploring the Black Hills

While Devils Tower is the star attraction, the surrounding Black Hills region offers plenty to discover. Here are a few ideas to expand your adventure:

  • Jewel Cave National Monument: Delve into the depths of the Earth at Jewel Cave, one of the longest caves in the world. Tours offer a glimpse into this fascinating subterranean wonderland adorned with sparkling crystals.
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Head south to Keystone, South Dakota, to witness the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial with its presidents’ faces carved into the granite mountainside.
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: Continue south to see another impressive sculpture in progress, the Crazy Horse Memorial, depicting a Lakota warrior riding a horse.
  • Black Hills National Forest: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the vast Black Hills National Forest with its diverse landscapes, from towering ponderosa pines to sparkling mountain lakes.

Maximizing Your Devils Tower Experience

Devils Tower National Monument experiences peak season in the summer months (June-August). If you prefer cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) when the weather is still pleasant for outdoor activities.

Be Prepared for the Weather. Wyoming weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers of clothing that you can adjust to changing conditions. Evenings can get chilly, while the sun can be intense during the day. Sunscreen, a hat, and good walking shoes are essential.

Respect the Local Culture. Devils Tower holds significant spiritual meaning for many Native American tribes. Be respectful of the cultural significance of the landmark and don’t be that person climbing all over someone else’s church.

Final Wisdom: Just Go With It

Devils Tower is one of those places that remind you how weird and wonderful the world can be. Whether you’re there to challenge yourself, find some peace, or just take a selfie with a giant stone monolith, embrace the adventure. Just remember to pack out what you pack in, don’t feed the wildlife, and for goodness sake, keep your hands off the sacred rocks.

And when the day is done, and you’re all adventured out, remember there’s a comfortable hotel bed waiting just a click away, so take a look at our list of some of the closest hotels. Ready for an adventure that’s equal parts wild and comfortably weary? Devils Tower awaits.

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