10 Facts about Devils Tower You Need to Know | Black Hills Travel Blog

10 Facts about Devils Tower You Need to Know

  • 10 Facts about Devils Tower You Need to Know
    10 Facts about Devils Tower You Need to Know
Updated: Friday, June 28, 2019
By : 
Joe

I was talking with a friend and somehow we got on the subject of rock climbing - which eventually led to Devils Tower National Monument. We had an interesting conversation and it turned out that we both had a lot of unanswered questions about the tower.

Devils Tower is located in the northwest corner of the Black Hills, on the Wyoming side of the border. I've been to Devils Tower several times, but apparently, I still had a lot to learn. Today I decided to find out the answers to those questions, because as my kindergarten teacher used to tell me, "If you have a question, chances are the rest of the class is wondering the same thing."

So, in no particular order, here's the lowdown about Devils Tower and the answers to some common questions about the strangely unique landmark.

  • From its base, Devils Tower is more than four football fields tall.
  • The tower is made up of mostly hexagonal columns, but some have as few as four or as many as seven sides.
  • Devils Tower was the first National Monument in the United States - declared as such in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt.
  • In that proclamation signed by Roosevelt, the apostrophe in "Devil's" was mistakenly left out, so the form signed by the president named the monument "Devils Tower," with no apostrophe. The typo was never corrected and the spelling stuck.
  • The small, colored bundles of cloth that are often seen around the base of Devils Tower are sacred offerings left by American Indian tribes. The tower is a cultural and religious focal point for several different tribes.
  • Because of it's cultural significance to American Indians, a voluntary rock climbing closure is in effect every June.
  • No guide is required to climb the tower, but all rock climbers must register at the ranger station both before and immediately after attempting to climb the tower.
  • More than 150 rock climbing routes have been established on Devils Tower.
  • The top of the tower was first reached by two local cowboys who constructed a wooden ladder system and attached it to the side of the tower. Remnants of the wooden ladder can still be seen on the side of the formation.
  • Things the National Park Service warns climbers they might encounter on the tower: snakes, spiny plants, poison ivy, falcon attacks, wasps and falling rocks.

The falling rocks I understand. But I can't say that I've ever seen a falcon attack a human. In any case, I learned a lot about Devils Tower and hope you did too.

Be sure to check it out next time you visit the Black Hills.

About the Author

Joe is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising.

During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back.

He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.

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