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Devils Tower National Monument Guide — Climbing, Hiking, and More

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Amar Hussain

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Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
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Devils Tower National Monument is rich with Native American cultural history and a fascinating geologic story. There is so much to do and see at this monument, including hiking one of the amazing trails, learning from knowledgeable park rangers, and night sky viewing.

Each year, more than 500,000 visitors from around the world come to see this monument and learn about its mesmerizing history.

How To Get to Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument Opening Hours and Seasons

This national monument is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The campground is open from mid-May to mid-October. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Washington’s Birthday. 

Where Is Devils Tower National Monument?

Devils Tower National Monument is located in the northeastern corner of Wyoming. The closest towns to this park are Sundance and Hulett. This small park only covers 2.1 square miles and has a massive tower that covers 1.5 acres of land. 

Nearest Airports to Devils Tower National Monument

There are 2 airports that visitors fly into to see this national monument. One option is a smaller county airport, while the other is a larger regional airport.

Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport (GCC)

Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport is located in Gillette, Wyoming, a little over an hour from the park. While this is a smaller airport with fewer flights offered, it may work perfectly for your travel.

This airport offers connecting flights to hundreds of destinations. Airlines serviced by this airport include United and Delta, operated by Skywest. Once you arrive here, you can easily rent a car to make the final leg of your journey to the park.

Bottom Line:

For the closest airport option, book your flight to Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport, where you can make the most of your travel time.

Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)

Rapid City Regional Airport is about 2 miles from Devils Tower National Monument. It offers much more than the smaller county airports.

This airport offers nonstop flights from several destinations in the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Airlines that service this airport include Allegiant, American, Delta, Sun Country, and United. 

There are several car rental kiosks with customer service representatives eager to help you arrange a car rental to help you get to the park successfully.

Driving to Devils Tower National Monument

Driving to Devils Tower National Monument
Image Credit: Mick Haupt via Unsplash

This national monument is accessed by Wyoming Highway 24. It is 9 miles south of Hulett. Most visitors take Interstate 90, then U.S. Highway 14, and exit 153 if coming from the west. For those coming from the east, use U.S. Highway 14 from Sundance, exit 185. Highway 24 intersects Highway 14, and this is the road that will lead you to the park. 

Taking the Train or Bus to Devils Tower National Monument

There is no train or bus service to this national monument.

Getting Around Devils Tower National Monument

The best way to get around Devils Tower National Monument is to park your vehicle and explore on foot. Parking is limited, so come early or late in the day when it isn’t as busy. The National Park Service offers interactive and printable maps to help you plan your adventures. 

What To See and Do in Devils Tower National Monument

There’s no shortage of things to see and do at this national monument. From fantastic hiking trails to rock climbing, ranger-led programs, and night sky viewing, there’s something for every visitor to enjoy here.

Climbing

One of the most thrilling adventures available at this national monument is climbing. There are countless opportunities to scale the rock walls here. The parallel cracks that divide the tower into large, hexagon-shaped columns make it one of the best places in North America for traditional crack climbing.

The difficulty level of the climbs here ranges from intermediate to advanced, so this activity is for those with plenty of experience. Be sure to read the climbing regulations and check the climbing closures before you set out for this adventure. 

Hiking Trails

Hiking Devils Tower National Monument
Image Credit: NPS

Hiking enthusiasts are in for a treat at Devils Tower National Monument. There are 5 hiking trails that showcase amazing views of Devils Tower and its surroundings. These trails vary in distance and difficulty, which means there is an option for guests of all ages and abilities.

Some of the trails include the Valley View Trail, where you can walk through a prairie dog town and see gorgeous views of the Belle Fourche River; the Tower Trail, which is paved and winds through Native American territory; and the Joyner Ridge Trail.

Hot Tip:

Check the current conditions before heading out for a hike, and be prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, and proper clothing for the weather.

Night Sky Viewing

This national monument is a popular place for night sky viewing. This area is very special to the Lakota tribe, who value the stars for many parts of their culture. Many Lakota stories have been told about the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt, and the North Star.

Today, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the dark sky at this national monument. Some of the best places to view the night sky include Joyner Ridge Parking Lot and the Trail and Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture and its picnic area.

The park rangers host frequent programs throughout the year, so visitors can hear the stories from long ago, view the sky with special telescopes, and learn from astrology experts. 

Ranger-Led Programs

Attending a ranger-led program is a great way to learn about this national monument’s natural and cultural history. These events are usually offered on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with additional programs in September.

Some of the most frequent programs include ranger talks, drop-in programs, and programs with special guests from Native American tribes. These programs are informative and entertaining and are a perfect way to understand this incredible monument better. 

Visitor Centers

Devils Tower National Monument Visitor Center was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It’s made of ponderosa pine logs and looks just as it did in the ’30s.

This is the main contact station for visitors today. The facility features park staff, exhibits that teach the park’s cultural and natural history, and the Devils Tower National History Association Bookstore.

This is a wonderful starting point when visiting this national monument, and the building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a remarkable sight to see. 

Best Times To Visit Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument is a fascinating place no matter when you visit. There are better times than others to visit, especially if you’re hoping to participate in a specific event.

Best Time To Visit Devils Tower National Monument for Ideal Weather

Devils Tower National Monument Ideal Weather
Image Credit: S. Carter via NPS

This national monument involves a lot of time spent outdoors, so planning to come when the weather is ideal is a great idea. August is the best time to visit the park because of the nice weather.

The temperature ranges from 49 to 84 degrees, and only about 4 days of rain are typical. Keep in mind that should you come during this month, you may have longer lines and more crowded areas due to this being one of the busiest months of the year. 

Best Time To Visit Devils Tower National Monument To Avoid the Crowds

A vacation without crowds is ideal, and there are several times to visit this national monument where crowds are few. The best month to visit with fewer crowds is mid- to late September. The park sees a dip in visitation once school returns from summer break, and after Labor Day travel subsides.

Best Time To Visit Devils Tower National Monument for Ranger Programs

Attending a ranger program is one of the best ways to learn about this national monument. If you’re hoping to have the opportunity to participate in one of these programs, the best month to visit is in July. Many programs are offered in July, but it is also one of the busiest months of the year. Be prepared for crowded conditions and longer lines to enter and exit the park.

Cheapest Time To Visit Devils Tower National Monument

The cheapest time to visit this national monument is in September after Labor Day travel subsides. This month offers cheaper flight rates and accommodation prices. A visit during this month can save you hundreds of dollars while traveling, allowing you to enjoy your trip even more. 

Annual Events in Devils Tower National Monument

This national monument regularly offers a wide variety of programs, including guest speakers from the original tribes of the park, ranger-led talks and hikes, and night sky programs. There are also a couple of major events that take place each year.

Old Settlers’ Picnic

The Old Setters’ Picnic was an event that started in 1932 and continued until the 1960s. This event brought many local people to the tower, where they could visit and socialize with their friends, family, and neighbors.

Today, this event is sponsored by the Devils Tower Natural History Association. Locals and visitors gather each June to enjoy music, food, family fun, poetry, and guest speakers. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with others and learn about the history of this national monument. 

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place each year in August during the first full week of the month. This event brings hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists to the Black Hills Region. On the Wednesday of Sturgis week, participants complete the “Ride to Devils Tower.”

If you plan to attend this event, be prepared for long lines to enter and exit the park, limited restrooms, and limited drinking water. It’s best to visit early or late in the day to avoid these inconveniences and bring drinking water. 

Where To Stay in Devils Tower National Monument

Thanks to the incredible location of this national monument, you won’t have any issues determining where you will stay during your trip.

Inside the Park

Belle Fourche River Campground
Image Credit: NPS

The only option for lodging within the park’s boundaries is to set up camp under the twinkling stars. The Belle Fourche River Campground is the only developed campground in the park. It’s available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

There are 46 sites at this campground. Each campsite features a picnic table and fire pit. This campground is ideal for tent campers or RVs under 35 feet. There are restrooms with water, but there aren’t any sites with hookups. There’s no better way to experience this park than by sleeping under cottonwood trees and stars. 

Towns Near Devils Tower National Monument

Several towns and communities near this national monument make great places to stay outside of the park’s boundaries. The closest option is just 10 miles away.

Hulett, Wyoming

Hulett is the closest option to this national monument and is about a 12-minute drive away. Several types of lodging are available, including rustic inns, RV parks, and locally owned hotels. 

There’s a nice mix of dining options in this town. Delis, cafes, and bars offer plenty of delicious flavors and drinks that will hit the spot. 

This town is a perfect option for outdoor enthusiasts. This area has incredible opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. There are also museums, art galleries, and golf courses if those are more your speed.

Bottom Line:

You can’t get any closer to the park than staying in Hulett. This town won’t disappoint and will make a perfect home away from home during your visit.

Sundance, Wyoming

Sundance is 28 miles from the park, nestled in the Rocky Mountain range in the heart of the Wyoming Black Hills. This city has an interesting history that includes Native Americans and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as many options for lodging, dining, and recreation. 

Hotels, RV parks, vacation homes, bed and breakfasts, and guest ranches are some of the accommodation types. Many visitors choose to stay at a guest ranch to get a genuine Western experience. There are several steakhouses, saloons, diners, and bars. No matter what you crave, you will find a solution to hunger in this town. 

Recreation abounds in this Wyoming town. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure, including rock climbing, mountain biking, hunting, horseback riding, fishing, and hiking. There are also several historic sites and museums to explore to learn more about the history and culture of the area. 

With its proximity to the park and the endless opportunities for dining, accommodations, and adventure, a stay in Sundance is ideal.

Where To Eat in Devils Tower National Monument

There aren’t any restaurants within the boundaries of this national monument, but there are plenty of picnic areas throughout the park. If you prefer to dine at a traditional restaurant, there are many options in the towns near the park.

Devils Tower Gulch

Devils Tower Gulch is located right outside of the park’s entrance. This restaurant and bar serves lunch and dinner every day of the week. 

This top-rated restaurant serves a variety of classic favorites such as burgers, salads, steaks, and seafood. Customers rave about their bourbon burger, chicken fried steak, and New York steak. 

Not only does this restaurant have fantastic food, but it also has unmatched customer service. There’s also live entertainment occasionally, making this a great stop for dinner and entertainment. 

Longhorn Café at Devils Tower

Longhorn Café at Devils Tower is less than a mile from this park and a great place to grab a bite to eat during your park adventures. This café started as a small taco stand in the 50s but quickly became known as the home of the Original Big Juicy, its famous burger.

Other dishes on the menu include nachos, sandwiches, chicken fried steak, fried fish, and onion rings. Popular menu items include the buffalo cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, and the chicken fried steak. For a meal you won’t forget and a cozy, family-style setting, add Longhorn Café to your itinerary when visiting this national monument.

Devils Tower National Monument Facts

Devils Tower WY USA
Image Credit: Elaine Baran via Unsplash

1. It’s America’s First National Monument

President Theodore Roosevelt established Devils Tower as the first national monument on September 24, 1906. 

2. The Park Holds Native American History

There are 27 different tribes connected to Devils Tower, including the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, and Lakota. The tribes have many different stories and legends of Devils Tower and how it was formed and have different names for it.

3. The Tower Reaches Staggering Heights

This tower is 867 feet from the base to the summit. It is 5,112 feet above sea level and stands 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. 

4. Native Americans Named Devils Tower

The indigenous people of the parkland have many names for the tower. Some of the names translate to Bear Lodge, Bear’s Tipi, Tree Rock, and Gray Horn Butte. In 1875, Lt. Col. Richard Dodge referred to it as Devils Tower because the tribes called the place “bad god’s tower,” even though no records confirmed they called it that. From that point on, Devils Tower was used.

5. How the Tower Was Formed

Devils Tower was formed underground from molten rock. Magma pushed upward and crashed into the sedimentary rock that surrounded it. This magma cooled and hardened to form the tower. There are other theories of how this was formed, but geologists agree that molten rock igneous intrusion is the actual cause of its formation. 

Final Thoughts

Visiting this monument is an experience of a lifetime, with endless opportunities to explore, learn, and see. There’s so much to see and do here, from rock climbing and hiking to night sky viewing and camping. Every visitor will find an activity to appeal to them.

Book your trip to Devils Tower National Monument and discover what brings in over half a million visitors from around the world each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to enter Devils Tower National Monument?

There is a fee collected at the entrance of this national monument. The fee is $25 per car for those entering by private vehicle. Guests entering on foot have a fee of $15. These passes are valid for 7 days of entry, which is perfect if you’re planning a multi-day trip. Passholders of America The Beautiful and other qualifying NPS passes can enter the monument at no cost.

How much time should I plan to visit Devils Tower National Monument?

The length of time recommended to visit this national monument varies depending on what you hope to do during your trip. The highlights of the park can be seen in a couple of hours, but if you hope to hike or climb, you may want to plan to visit for several days.

Are there any nearby attractions I should visit during my Devils Tower National Monument trip?

There are several popular attractions near this park. Some of the places visitors enjoy visiting during their trip include Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, and Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Can I bring my dog to Devils Tower National Monument?

Pets are permitted in some of the areas at this national monument. They are welcome in parking areas and along roadways, picnic areas, and campground areas. They are expected to be leashed and cleaned up after at all times. Pets are prohibited in the park trails and in the park buildings.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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