There are places full of stories and legends, and Devils Tower National Monument is one of them.
This name may not tell you anything and yet ...
In the Northeast Wyoming is located a strange monolith that it is impossible to miss.
An immense curiosity in the middle of the meadows surrounding the Black Hills, which can be seen from afar. Like out of the ground, Devils Tower, this large rock streaked with vertical grooves stands out from the landscape.
There is of course a natural and scientific explanation for this phenomenon but the legend, it, much more poetic, invites to daydream.
In the Native American beliefs, legend says that one day, seven Sioux girls were picking flowers when they were chased by a bear.
Breathless and trapped by it, they prayed to the Great Spirit to help them. The small rock on which they found refuge, then began to rise under their feet, sheltering them from the bear. He tried to climb the wall. Without success, he left there the marks of its claws.
The rock continued to rise and young girls turned into stars to form the constellation of the Pleiades. Seven little stars, high in the sky…
Our favorite explanation!
But this legend is much more than a beautiful story, because for Indians of the northern plains and indigenous peoples, this place remains sacred. Besides, although the monolith is a very famous climbing spot, rock cannot be surveyed by climbers in June every year due to ceremony.
A tradition taken very seriously and very respected. Climbing there, would be seen as a desecration.
Scientifically speaking, there are many theories on these 386m (top) of magma, and erosion is one of the important factors in the design of this devil's tower, visible from 65 million years.
But to be a little more precise, geologically, the one that makes everyone agree and simplifying a little, and thatit would be a “heart of a volcano” whose sedimentary rocks around it would be eroded over the years.
The rock that we see today, more resistant, has withstood time this monolith almost 400m high.
The hexagonal columns as for them, are the characteristic result of the slow cooling of the magma that we find on other sites around the world. We call that magmatic organs, or more precisely phonolitics in the case of the Devils Tower rock.
And then for those who love science fiction, Devils Tower is also the meeting place for aliens in "Meetings of the 3rd type", the 1977 film by Steven Spielberg ! Does that speak to you?
Now that you know all the versions of this surprising place, it's up to you to find out what explanation or story you want to keep!
In any case, we will all agree that this place classified National Monument is well worth a detour. Especially since it is the first site to have had the title of "National Monument" in the United States in 1906, just that !
Of course, if rock climbing is not your thing, the beautiful 2.1km walk, the “Tower Trail” , which makes the complete tour will seduce you with its viewpoints more or less clear on the monolith and the surroundings.
A good opportunity to learn a little more about the place, thanks to explanatory panels that punctuate the route and to understand in all facets this "Devil's Tower".
Twice our paths have brought us here and the astonishment and fascination with what Mother Nature has managed to sculpt over time has been there.
Suffice to say that for whom would pass nearby, this is a stop that we can only advise you.
"Leave No Trace"
It is one of the mottos of the American Parks, "Do not leave traces". These ecosystems are fragile and unique, if you visit them (and like everywhere else), thank you to take with you your waste and / or to deposit them in the containers provided for this purpose.
- Accessible via Wyoming Hwy 24.
- From the east, take Interstate 90 exit 185
- From the west, take exit 153 from Interstate 90.
- Then follow the signs to be directed to the park.
- Tower Trail / 2.1kms / Easy: a loop of which goes around the monolith. All along the route, explanatory panels will tell you about geology, beliefs and a whole lot of information.
- Open all year (except the visitor center closed from early December to early March)
- No timetable
- Price: 25$ per day and per vehicle, annual pass for this park 45$, annual pass for all the parks in the USA 80$
- Official site : www.nps.gov/deto
- The Visitors Center is at the end of the park road, 5 km from the entrance.
- Climbing : You can climb all year round except in June. You must register before at the Visitor Center.
- Campsite: 20$, open from early May to early October.
- Dogs are allowed on a leash but not on trails!