Devils Tower, located in Wyoming, is an impressive rock formation that rises 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River. It is the world's largest example of columnar junctions and is a sacred site for more than 20 Native American tribes. It is also known as the Bear Lodge and was the first national monument in the United States, established on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. This monument, which closely resembles a giant tree stump, has also made history as a popular rock climbing spot since the mid-1890s.
The naturally created cracks in the monument range in size from the width of a finger to large enough for a human to stand in, and the largest crack extends approximately 400 feet. The Devil's Tower has been a source of fascination for centuries and has been linked to many myths and legends. Wooden Leg, a Cheyenne from the north, recounted another legend told to him by an old man when they traveled together through the Devil's Tower between 1866 and 1868. Scott Momaday (kiowa) was given the name Tsoai-talee (rock tree boy) after Pohd-lohk, an elderly Kiowa, linking the boy to the myth of the Devils Tower bear. Today, Devils Tower continues to be a popular destination for visitors looking to explore its unique features and learn more about its history.
Camping near Devils Tower offers views of the National Monument and an opportunity to escape the daily grind. There are also less traveled trails that offer shorter, socially distanced walks that offer views of Devils Tower and the surrounding area. Climbing the Devils Tower is also a popular activity due to today's modern types of equipment. However, it is important to note that when pioneers looking for a new life in the West traveled in wagons along Oregon, California and Mormon Trails, many settled in the Devils Tower area, seeing that there was enough land for livestock and agriculture.
In 1890, the general land office ordered that applications for land ownership around the Devil's Tower and the Tower itself be rejected. To this day, Native American tribes continue to hold sacred ceremonies in the Devil's Tower such as dancing in the sun and other communal rituals. About 20% of the proceeds raised by the National Park Service stays with them, while 80% goes to the preservation of the Devils Tower National Monument. Long before Hollywood aliens visited this iconic landmark in Eastern Wyoming, Devils Tower stood as a cultural and beautiful icon. It is an incredible place to explore and learn more about its fascinating history and myths.