Interesting Facts, History & Information About Devils Tower National Monument24th March 2023
Devils Tower National Monument, located in northeastern Wyoming, is a unique and awe-inspiring geological wonder. This massive rock formation has been a sacred site for Native American tribes for centuries and continues to draw visitors from around the world.
In addition to its cultural significance, Devils Tower is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking, climbing, and wildlife viewing opportunities available throughout the park.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most interesting facts, history, and information about Devils Tower National Monument, from its geological formation and cultural significance to its recreational activities and visitor information.
Interesting facts about Devils Tower National Monument:
Here are some interesting facts about Devils Tower National Monument:
- Devils Tower is a geological formation made of igneous rock, located in the Black Hills region of northeastern Wyoming. It rises 867 feet above the surrounding terrain and has a circumference of 1.3 miles at its base.
- The name “Devils Tower” originated from a mistranslation of the Native American name for the rock formation, which translates to “Bear Lodge.” The name “Devils Tower” was mistakenly given to the rock formation by an early explorer and has since become the official name.
- Devils Tower is a sacred site for many Native American tribes, including the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Kiowa people. These tribes have their own stories and legends about the formation’s creation, which are passed down through oral tradition.
- In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the first national monument in the United States. This designation helped to protect the site and its surrounding landscape from development and exploitation.
- Climbing Devils Tower is a popular activity, with an estimated 5,000 climbers scaling the formation each year. However, the monument has a voluntary climbing ban during the month of June out of respect for Native American ceremonies that take place during that time.
- The rock formation is a popular destination for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. In 2015, Devils Tower was designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, recognizing the monument’s commitment to protecting its dark skies and promoting astronomy education.
- The monument is home to a variety of wildlife, including bison, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer. It is also an important bird habitat, with over 130 species recorded in the area.
- The film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” prominently featured Devils Tower, which helped to increase the formation’s popularity and visitor numbers. The monument is also a popular destination for photographers, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts.
What type of rock is Devils Tower?
Devils Tower is a prominent geological feature located in northeastern Wyoming, USA. It is a massive, column-like igneous intrusion that rises 867 feet (265 meters) above the surrounding landscape.
Geologically speaking, Devils Tower is classified as an igneous intrusion, specifically a phonolite porphyry. It was formed by the solidification of molten magma beneath the Earth’s surface around 50 million years ago during the Eocene epoch.
The distinctive columnar shape of Devils Tower is due to a process called columnar jointing, where the igneous rock cooled and solidified, forming polygonal columns that resemble tall, vertical pillars. Over time, erosion of the surrounding softer rock has exposed the hard, resistant igneous intrusion, creating the striking and unique landscape feature that we see today.
How was Devils Tower formed?
Devils Tower was formed through a geological process known as igneous intrusion. About 50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch, molten magma from deep within the Earth rose towards the surface, but instead of erupting onto the surface, it cooled and solidified underground. Over time, the overlying rock and sediment eroded away, exposing the solidified magma.
As the magma cooled, it contracted and cracked, forming a series of polygonal columns. These columns are generally hexagonal in shape and can be several feet wide and up to hundreds of feet tall. The columns were formed through a process called columnar jointing, which occurs when the magma solidifies and contracts, creating cracks that extend through the rock in a vertical or diagonal direction.
The erosion of the surrounding softer sedimentary rock exposed the igneous intrusion and created the striking and unique landscape feature that we see today. The tower itself rises 867 feet (265 meters) above the surrounding landscape, making it an iconic and recognizable landmark in northeastern Wyoming, USA.
Can you climb Devils Tower?
Yes, climbing Devils Tower is permitted and it is a popular activity for experienced rock climbers. The tower has a number of established climbing routes, ranging in difficulty from moderate to extremely difficult. However, climbing Devils Tower is not recommended for novice climbers, as it requires a high level of technical skill and experience.
It is important to note that climbing at Devils Tower is subject to regulations and guidelines to protect the natural and cultural resources of the area. For example, climbers are required to register with the park service before climbing and are encouraged to practice low-impact climbing techniques to minimize damage to the rock and surrounding environment.
Additionally, there are certain times of year when climbing is prohibited or restricted, typically during the nesting season of the resident peregrine falcons. Climbers should consult with the park service and familiarize themselves with the regulations and guidelines before attempting to climb Devils Tower.
How long does it take to climb Devils Tower?
The time it takes to climb Devils Tower varies widely depending on the experience and skill level of the climbers, as well as the particular route they choose to take. Some of the more difficult routes can take several days to complete, while the easiest routes can be climbed in a few hours.
On average, a climbing team may take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to climb Devils Tower. The actual climbing time will depend on the route, the number of pitches, and the skill level of the climbers.
It’s worth noting that climbers will also need to spend time preparing and organizing their equipment, as well as hiking to and from the base of the tower, so the total time involved in a climb can be much longer than the actual climbing time. Additionally, weather conditions can also affect the climbing time, as high winds or precipitation can make the climb more difficult and dangerous.
Has anyone died climbing Devils Tower?
Yes, unfortunately, there have been several fatalities associated with climbing Devils Tower over the years. The exact number is difficult to determine, but it is estimated that there have been around a dozen deaths since the 1930s.
Climbing any rock face involves a certain amount of risk, and Devils Tower is no exception. The tower’s vertical nature and difficult climbing routes can pose significant challenges, even for experienced climbers. Accidents can happen due to a variety of factors, including equipment failure, rockfall, and human error.
It is worth noting, however, that climbing at Devils Tower is generally considered to be relatively safe when proper safety measures are followed. The National Park Service closely monitors climbing activity on the tower and provides guidelines and safety information to climbers to help reduce the risk of accidents. Climbers are encouraged to take appropriate precautions, such as using proper equipment, climbing with experienced partners, and staying aware of weather conditions, to minimize the risk of injury or death while climbing.
How big is the top of Devils Tower?
The top of Devils Tower is relatively flat and measures around 60 feet (18 meters) in diameter. The flat summit area is situated at an elevation of 5,112 feet (1,558 meters) above sea level, and it offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The summit is accessible only by technical climbing routes, and it is not recommended for inexperienced climbers.
The flat top of Devils Tower is believed to have formed through a process called exfoliation, where layers of rock gradually peel away due to changes in temperature and pressure. The top of the tower was likely once covered by a layer of harder rock that has since eroded away, leaving behind the current flat summit area. Despite its relatively small size, the summit of Devils Tower is an iconic feature and is a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers.
Information & History of Devils Tower national monument
Devils Tower National Monument is a unique geological formation located in the Black Hills region of northeastern Wyoming, USA. It is a massive, isolated butte that rises 867 feet above the surrounding landscape and has a circumference of 1.3 miles at its base.
Geologists believe that the formation was created by the intrusion of magma into existing rock layers around 50 million years ago. As the magma cooled, it contracted, forming large, hexagonal columns that make up the distinctive shape of Devils Tower. Over time, erosion removed the surrounding rock layers, exposing the tower to the surface.
For many Native American tribes, Devils Tower is a sacred site that plays an important role in their culture and spiritual beliefs. According to legend, the formation was created by the Great Spirit as a way to rescue a group of young girls from a giant bear. The girls climbed to the top of the rock to escape the bear, and the Great Spirit raised the rock up to the sky, leaving the bear to claw at the sides of the tower in frustration.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the first national monument in the United States. This designation helped to protect the site and its surrounding landscape from development and exploitation. Today, the monument is managed by the National Park Service and is a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing.
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FAQ about Devils Tower National Monument
Here are some frequently asked questions about Devils Tower National Monument:
How tall is Devils Tower?
Devils Tower stands 867 feet tall above the surrounding terrain.
Can you climb Devils Tower?
Yes, climbing Devils Tower is allowed and is a popular activity. However, climbers must register with the park service and adhere to certain rules and regulations to protect the rock formation and surrounding environment.
Is there a fee to visit Devils Tower National Monument?
Yes, there is a fee to enter the park. The fee varies depending on the season and type of entry pass.
What is the best time of year to visit Devils Tower?
The summer months of June through August are the most popular and busiest times to visit Devils Tower. However, the park is open year-round and offers different experiences in each season.
Are there any guided tours available at Devils Tower?
Yes, the park offers ranger-led programs and guided hikes during the summer season. Private tour operators also offer guided tours of the monument and surrounding area.
What is the significance of Devils Tower to Native American tribes?
Devils Tower is a sacred site for many Native American tribes, including the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Kiowa people. It is believed to have spiritual and cultural significance and is the focus of many traditional stories and legends.
What is the closest town to Devils Tower National Monument?
The town of Sundance, Wyoming, is located approximately 10 miles from the park entrance and offers lodging, dining, and other amenities for visitors.
Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.