Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Exploring the Great West: Day 3, Part 1, Devil's Tower National Monument

This is a continuation of a travel series to The Great West.  To start at the beginning, go HEREHERE, and 
HERE, and HERE!

On day three of our vacation out west, we left Spearfish Canyon and started our trek to Medora, North Dakota.  But first, we decided to make a stop at Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

The drive to Devil's Tower is so beautiful.  Wyoming is such a gorgeous state and one I hope to explore more some day.  You can see Devil's Tower for miles and miles before you even reach it, it is that tall!  In fact, if you don't want to pay the park fee, you can easily see the tower and take pictures of it from the road.  Both the picture above and the one below were taken from outside the park.


I really think it's worth going into the park and seeing it up close, especially if you have a National Park Pass or if you plan on visiting another National Park during the week.  We purchased a seven day vehicle pass for $25.00 and it was good at all national parks and monuments.


Parking is very limited at the monument, so get there early!  We got there just as the sun was rising and it was already filling up fast.  I have no idea why they don't have more parking!  

If you thought the monument looked huge from outside the park, it is really impressive when you get so close to it!  There is a paved path that winds it way around the tower.  Along the way you can learn all about the geologic features and the history of the area.  The path might seem short, but it took us all morning to walk around. However, we stopped a lot, reading everything, and taking lots and lots of pictures.  The "Tower Trail" is a 1.3 mile loop  around the monument.


We were surprised to learn that you can climb the rocks and go anywhere on the property, but you need a permit to climb the tower.


We saw lots of climbers while we were there.  In the picture below I drew an arrow to some climbers.  Can you even imagine doing this?


Here is a close up picture of those same climbers.  There are degrees of difficulty for climbing the monument, some sides are graded as easier than others to climb.  This side is the hardest to climb.  


There are so many "stories" of how this rock formation came to being.  My favorite one was the Cheyenne   story of how a giant bears claws created the vertical crevices.


There are actually five trails in the park, but because we had to be in Medora later that day, we were only able to do the "Tower Trail" loop.


There is also camping near the park and ranger programs!


The trail around the monument is absolutely breath-taking.  They even had two scenic overlooks that showed the countryside and information on the early settlers of the area.



Each side looked a little different and the sides that looked easier to climb had a lot more climbers on them.  The "Durrance Route" is the easiest side to climb.  It takes between 4 -6 hours to climb and an hour or two to rappel down.  There have only been six climbing deaths since 1937 and half of those deaths occurred during the rappel down.



The "Tower Trail" was such a lovely, and peaceful trail.  In addition to the constant magnificent view of the tower always within your gaze, and the two stunning scenic vistas, we also enjoyed our little walk through a forested area and marveled at the large fallen rocks.


Devil's Tower is 867 feet from it's base to the summit.  In comparison, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall, and the Empire State Building is 1,457 feet tall.


Geologists believe that "Devil's Tower" formed underground as molten rock and then pushed it's way through the surface.


Devil's Tower was such a blessing to see!  We actually planned on seeing it on our last visit our west in 2019 but never made it there, so we were thrilled we got there on this trip!  But perhaps what made our visit even more special is that we were there during Rosh Hashanah.  The entire time we were walking on the "Tower Trail" we could hear a strange sound.  My husband said "It sounds like someone is blowing a Shofar!"  I didn't know what to think.  A shofar in the middle of a forest in a National Monument park?  Well, guess what?  Someone was blowing a shofar!  At the end of our walk, in the beautiful shade of the forest, we ran into a Messianic Jew who was blowing a shofar in honor of Rosh Hashanah.  We spent quite a long time talking to him.  It was so wonderful running into a fellow believer on our trip.  He actually thought my husband was a Jew because he knew so much about Jewish holidays and the Old Testament.  We said "No. We just love Israel and have studied the Old Testament and all the Jewish Feast Days".  Anyway, I wanted to share a short video of this sweet man blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah. 


Have A Great Day!  Amy

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30 comments:

  1. I would never ever want to climb that! LOL. Looks like such a neat park to visit though.

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    1. Me neither! It looks terrifying. It is such a nice place to visit.

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  2. I'm surprised there are so few deaths with the tower climb. But what was even more surprising is that some would happen on the rappel down.
    What an impressive sight.
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I think I read that more deaths are caused by rappelling because the anchors break free. But yea, with the amount of daily climbers they get, you would think there would be more deaths.

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  3. Well...you just gave me another addition to my bucket list! I can just imagine how even more awesome it must look like actually being there!!

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    1. Yes, I've seen pictures of it my whole life, and of course I saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", but you really can't get a great perspective of it's mammoth size unless you're there.

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  4. Fantastic Adventure There - Looking Forward To Following Along - Be Well And Stay Strong

    Cheers

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  5. Great Rock Formation! Those climing braveheart are so crazy. :)

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    1. It sure is! Yes, those climbers are so brave, and crazy! ha ha!

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  6. I agree the Devil's Tower is so impressive! We were able to visit it on our trip to the area a few years ago. It was later in the day (afternoon) when we arrived and I don't think we had an issue finding a parking spot.
    We too had seen some climbers and couldn't believe people would attempt to climb up there!
    And lots of prairie dogs which were sooooo cute!!

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    1. Awww, I never saw prairie dogs. I love them! We saw them at our next park though. That's good to know about parking. We probably just went at a popular time.

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  7. Wow, so very beautiful. Super impressive.

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  8. gorgeous creation, beautiful snapshots, perfect time of year to travel!

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    1. Yes, we love to travel in spring or fall. Thanks so much!

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  9. Devils Tower has been on my list of places to visit for such a long time. Such an impressive structure. The climbers are really brave for climbing it, just like at El Capitan in Yosemite. Beautiful photos, Amy. Thanks so much for sharing them on Wandering Camera!

    -Soma

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    1. Ours too! We tried the last time we were out west and it didn't work out. Thanks so much!

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  10. Amazing place, great pics.

    Ann
    https://roomsofinspiration.blogspot.com/

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  11. What a beautiful formation! Those climbers are so brave. It's pretty amazing that there's only been 6 deaths. Thank you for sharing your photos and recap!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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    1. It sure is! I know, I could never do that. It is amazing more haven't died.

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  12. I'm with you, I wouldn't want to climb that either, haha! it's really impressive though, reminds me of some of the rock formations we have here in the sunshine coast near the glasshouse mountains. There's one that looks like a gorilla face, although I'm not sure if you could climb any of them!

    Hope that you are having a good weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

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    1. We were actually very surprised that they were allowed to climb it too. But you do have to register and from what I read it doesn't damage it.

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  13. Imagens impressionantes da natureza numa explosão natural da sua beleza.
    Vale a pena fazer umas férias assim.
    Abraço amigo.
    Juvenal Nunes

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  14. Fabulous photos of Devils Tower! We visited it about 10 years ago on a drive through Wyoming towards Yellowstone.

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    1. Thanks! That's great that you got to experience it!

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  15. What an interesting formation! Hike around Devils Tower? Yes! Climb? Absolutely not! LOL!

    Michelle
    https://mybijoulifeonline.com

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    1. It sure is! And you are so right! ha ha! I would never climb that!

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