If you’re old enough to remember the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, then you know what Devil’s Tower looks like. It was a prominent part of the movie storyline, and the geographic location played an integral setting towards the end. Devil’s Tower actually exists and is located in Wyoming Black Hills. It is so prominent as a natural landmark, the area around Devil’s Tower is named as a national park with the same moniker.
History of Devils Tower
According to geologists, Devil’s Tower is a form of igneous rock. While the experts can’t agree on exactly how the formation occurred, they are in agreement that it involved a serious push of igneous rock, likely molten or soft at the time, upward against the sedimentary earth above it. That created a large geophysical bulge. Over time, the sedimentary earth eroded away due to wind and rain, leaving only the much more durable igneous rock formation now exposed to the air. Up close, the igneous rock looks like a series of columns shooting upward. The column is so high, only one percent of visitors are able to reach the top via mountain climbing techniques and tools.
Visiting Devils Tower
Today, as mentioned earlier, Devil’s Tower is a federal national monument and the area is a federal national park. Access to the Tower is generally available to anyone interested, within the rules of the Park Service for the area, including day or visit fees. The Park is generally open from the beginning of April until November each year. For those who want to rock climb the monument, it is requested that the month of June be avoided in respect to local Native American tribes in the area.
Getting to the area is a matter of traveling to Wyoming and reaching the park via Interstate 90 as Devil’s Tower is located in the northeastern corner of the state. Most visitors use Sundance Wyoming as a base of arrival and then drive west on Interstate 90 until reaching state route 14. They then head northwest on 14 until reaching state route 24 and head north to Devil’s Tower itself.
The area that Devil’s Tower is in is also within range of Yellowstone National Park on the other side of Wyoming and the Black Hills National Forest to the Southeast. So there are plenty of natural wonders in the area to see in a combination trip if planned correctly.
Lodging and Visiting Devils Tower
For a weekend stay at Devil’s Tower, a visitor is likely to find his best lodging in the town of Hulett. The location includes multiple motels and restaurants for a civilized stay only 9 miles from the Tower itself. That said, if a nature stay is more in the cards, a 50-site campground is within the Park territory itself, and reservations can be scheduled with the U.S. Park Service.
1. A Place to Sleep – Hulett sits right at the junction of state routes 24 and 112, north of Devil’s Tower. Lodgings include the Hulett Best Western, which provides a standard stay consistent with most of Best Western hotels nationwide. There is also the Rimrock Lodge in the area, a local establishment and motel for travelers.
2. A Place to Eat – In terms of eating in Hulett, the main stopping place to fill up is the Ponderosa Cafe & Bar, located on Main Street in downtown Hulett.
3. Options – Alternatively for those who are willing to drive more, Sundance, WY has a few lodging offerings. Back on Interstate 90 these include the Sundance Best Western as well as the Rodeway Inn.
Don’t Miss Devils Tower
Visiting Devil’s Tower for the weekend can be a fun trip idea, but it does require some planning ahead of time. It’s not the sort of trip one just takes on a whim, or he better bring a tent with him doing so. While there are amenities along the way, there are not that many resources. During the height of the summer season, lodging and restaurants can get filled up pretty quick with tourists going through the area. So if Devil’s Tower is in the cards for an adventure weekend, just make sure to have a Plan B and Plan C for a place to stay and eat. And definitely bring a car that’s not going to breakdown or have issues as many of the routes are literally out in the wilderness.
Photo Courtesy of LDELD