Visiting the Devil’s Tower (Wyoming, United States of America) is an unforgettable experience. This impressive monolith stands 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and 5,112 feet above sea level. You’ll spot it from a distance, and you’ll feel the need to visit, because it is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen before. The Devil’s Tower was also the very first United States National Monument, established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. A must see in Wyoming! This easy travel guide will give you lots of useful info about parking, hiking, climbing, how to save on the entrance fee, and so much more. Buckle up, it’s going to be a very interesting journey!
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Driving Directions to Devil’s Tower
The drive to the Devil’s Tower is super easy. This National Monument can in fact be accessed by a single road, Wyoming Hwy 24.
The entrance is located 9 miles South of Hulett (WY). This Highway intersects US Hwy 14 six miles south of the Tower at what is known as “Devils Tower Junction“.
If you’re using a sat nav, the Devil’s Tower address is WY-110, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, 82714. GPS Coordinates: 44º 35′ 23.95″ N; 104º 41′ 47.88″ W.
Many people drive from Rapid City to the Devil’s Tower: it will take you about 1:40 hours. Just follow the I-90 W to Sundance and then turn on the Wyoming Hwy 24 at the Devils Tower Junction.
Operating Hours and Seasons
The Devil’s Tower National Monument Visitor Center is usually closed in winter (December – March). The park, including the main road, parking area and the trails, will remain open.
You should be aware that winter in Wyoming is pretty cold, so you’ll have to deal with ice and snow.
Because the Devil’s Tower N. M. is open 7/24, you can get there early in the morning if you’re interested in visiting without having to deal with the crowds.
I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing quite a few astrophotographers who specifically visited the Devil’s Tower at night because of the gorgeous starry sky!
The Belle Fourche River Campground (find out more by scrolling down) is usually partly open in early May, and will be fully available by mid-May.
Half of the campground is in fact closed in early October, and the rest by the end of October.
Due to bad weather conditions, opening and closing dates might be subject to change.
Devil’s Tower: Entrance fee & annual passes
The Devil’s Tower pass, valid for 7 days, will cost you 25$ and includes one private vehicle, plus all its passengers.
If you intend to visit on a motorcycle, the specific entry fee for a single motorcycle and its rider will cost you $20 and it’s still valid for 7 days.
Individual permits for 7 days will cost you $15.
In case you are planning a longer road trip or if you’re going to visit more National Parks in USA in a 12 months period, there’s a way to save quite a bit!
Buy an annual pass America the Beautiful: we used it also while on our Utah road trip and we loved it!
This annual pass will cost you $80 (validity 12 months) and you can buy at the park entrance.
It includes most of the USA National and State parks. Once you have the America The Beautiful card, just show it at the entrance whenever you’re visiting one of the parks included. You won’t have to pay anything!
Useful Parking Info
Visiting the Devil’s Tower early in the morning is a good idea, especially because parking is very limited. If you’re planning this road trip during the warmest months, know that finding a parking spot can be super stressful.
The main parking areas have less than 200 spaces available and in summer the parking lots are always full between 10am and 3pm.
Make sure you get there early, especially if you’re planning to go hiking or climbing. Otherwise you’re risking to spend a lot of time driving in circles while searching for an available parking spot!
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Vehicles longer than 19 feet are prohibited from parking in the visitor center lot from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through September 15.
There’s a specific long vehicle parking area you should use. It’s located Southeast of the administration building.
There is yet another (small) parking area which requires some hiking to get to the visitor center.
It’s located near the picnic area and it’s paved. If you don’t mind walking, check out if you find a parking spot there.
What is there to do at Devil’s Tower?
Many people think that visiting the Devil’s Tower is something to do in a rush. Often this National Monument is added to the itinerary for a larger USA Northwest road trip as a super short stop.
If you do have enough time, I suggest spending one day at the Devil’s Tower, to enjoy this gorgeous area, which offers so much to both families and solo travellers.
This geologic oddity is a sight to behold: we’d never seen anything like this before.
Its sides seem to be shaped in long lines, while the top is flat: it looks like a giant sculpture, the likes of which could be found in an art museum.
Among the things to do at the Devil’s Tower there are super informative Ranger Programs, offered in the summertime (generally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so consider from late May to early September).
These programs include an interesting Devil’s Tower hike, as well as short talks outside the Visitor Center, evening programs at the campground amphitheater and so much more.
Usually they cover topics like the natural and cultural history of this National monument: if you have the chance I suggest you sign up for one of the activities.
Both me and Al loved getting to know more about the Devil’s Tower and the Black Hills. Besides, the Rangers were so friendly and super welcoming!
The Summer Cultural Program brings speakers and performers to the Devil’s Tower, to present events themed around the Natives, history of the area or even useful climbing information.
Those who are visiting the Devil’s Tower with their family will absolutely love the Junior Ranger Program, offered year round. Just ask for the booklets at the Visitor Center (or print them at home to make sure you’ll have enough!).
The overall program will take more or less one hour and when the Junior Rangers have completed it, they will be officially sworn and given a special badge. You can also buy Junior Ranger patches in the bookstore!
Believe me when I say that it filled my heart with love to see the proud faces of the young rangers: they were super serious about this program!
If you’ve planned to visit Wyoming in winter and will add the Devil’s Tower to your itinerary, know that there’s the chance to indulge in some snowy hiking, cross-country skiing and climbing.
Just make sure you have all the necessary gear because as I already mentioned… winter can be bigger than life in Wyoming!
Hiking and Climbing info
Planning a Devil’s Tower hike is the perfect way to experience the park, if you have at least half day available. The very best option would be to get to the entrance super early in the morning, so you can enjoy sunrise in the quiet of the trails.
The most popular hiking spot at the Devil’s Tower is the Tower Trail. It’s a paved, easy 1.3 mile loop around the base of the monolith. If you get there early in the morning there won’t be anyone else around and it’ll be amazing. In case it’s already crowded, you should opt for one of the more secluded trails.
Because the Devil’s Tower is pretty fragile, always use established trails to protect the soil, plants and wildlife at the base of the Tower.
Also do not try to approach the animals or their homes: if you want to take a picture it’s fine, just don’t shove your camera under their nose!
The Devil’s Tower National Monument protects many animals, like white-tailed deer, prairie dogs and bald eagles. According to our experience, prairie dogs are those you’ll see the most. They’re cute and funny, always ready to “pose” for pictures!
By all means I’m not a Devil’s Tower climbing guide, but I do have a few info and tips that I think will be super useful.
Technical rock climbing is allowed in the park. Yet if you want to experience this adrenaline-filled activity, you must register before you start and check in when you’re finished.
Climbing permits are available at the kiosk in the parking area and at the Visitor Center.
To respect the Native culture and traditions, during the month of June there’s a voluntary closure to climbing.
Please honor this month-long closure and be respectful. The Devil’s Tower is a sacred place for many Native tribes. They conduct ceremonies and interrupting them is the very worst thing you could do!
The registration is a legal document and a requirement for everyone who is planning to climb. It’s mandatory and free. Yet you should consider it also as the best way to protect yourself.
If the Rangers know that someone is out there, they will immediately start searching for you in case anything happens.
Those wishing to consult experienced climbers should look for the “Climbing Rangers“, who can offer lots of info on weather, hazards, routes and closures.
They are to be found at the Climbing Office inside the park. Check in at the building on the West side of the paved parking lot.
While climbing the Devil’s Tower is one of the best experience ever, be aware that you have to be an experienced climber, because the routes are long and pretty difficult.
Make sure you follow all the safety rules at all times and check the weather forecast before you start climbing!
Native American tribes and their connection to “Bear Lodge”
Many tribes of the Great Plains and the Black Hills have connections with the Devil’s Tower. Indigenous people of the region today, that still perform ceremonies and have legends about this National monument include:
There isn’t just one Devil’s Tower legend, albeit many people think so. Each tribe has a different tale. Yet some elements are shared among them, like the fact that in this area lived many bears.
One of the elements that I’ve found in many Native legends is the fact that the big cracks on the Devil’s Tower were done by a huge, evil bear scratching the tower and hoping to catch the kids, or Natives who found refuge on the top.
At the Devils Tower Visitor Center there are plenty of books and paintings depicting the Native legends: have a look because some are very interesting!
The Natives used to refer to the big monolith with different names. Translated in English they’d be “Bear Lodge“, “Tree Rock“, “Bear’s Tipi” and more.
As I already mentioned, this is a sacred place. You might find prayer cloths and prayer bundles attached to trees around the park (we found many along the Tower Trail).
Please, don’t touch them and don’t take pictures. It’s very disrespectful.
Imagine if someone walked in a church and started touching all the sacred objects, or taking pictures where there’s a huge “no photography” sign. Would you find it funny or would you get upset?
Being a conscious traveller also means connecting to the locals and being aware of the culture of the places you’re visiting.
Don’t be inappropriate!
Camping near the Devil’s Tower
The Belle Fourche River Campground is open seasonally on a first come, first serve basis. It’s a 50-site campground with potable water available (also in the restrooms), picnic tables and shelters.
As I mentioned above, the park will open half the campground in early May, and the other half by the end of May. In October, the first part of the campground will be closed at the beginning of the month and the other by the end of the month.
Opening and closing times are weather dependent.
Whether you’re planning to only visit the Devils Tower, or if you also want to add some more stops to your Wyoming road trip, let me suggest you a few hotels we found very nice.
They’re all located in the area, so you won’t have to drive for up to one hour before you’re able to enjoy a nice shower: that would be a nightmare after a long day hiking (or climbing)!
Budget: Arrowhead Motel. Check and compare rates: Booking.com | HotelsCombined
Average: Devils Tower Lodge. Check and compare rates: Booking.com | HotelsCombined
Fancy: Sawin’ Logs B&B. Check and compare rates: Booking.com | HotelsCombined
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Travelling Dany – Danila Caputo
Danila Caputo is a bilingual travel writer living in between Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Italy), graduating from the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa in Foreign Languages and Literature. She travels and works with her husband Aldo, photographer and videographer. Their blog chronicles their adventures around the world, their love for the USA (where they have family), Italian/European culture and tips on how to be responsible travelers. You can find out more about their latest trips and their life on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.