Steve and I arrived in Devil’s Tower, Wyoming late last night. We were staying at the Devil’s Tower KOA. We rolled up around 9:00PM due to an traffic accident after leaving Yellowstone, which caused us to add stops and made us run late. Because of this, we visited the site in the morning.
Devil’s Tower is a geological marvel. Devil’s Tower was estimated to have formed over 50 million years ago, and there are several different theories on how exactly it did. You can read the wiki page which offers a few different scientific arguments – and you can read the Native American’s belief.
Where We Stayed
Like I had mentioned, we arrived extremely late, and in the dark. In our experience, this is where KOA’s really shine. We have done “late check-in” several times (mostly unplanned) and we just showed up and there was an envelope with our name on it outside the office and a map to our site. Our envelope told us we had a “tower view”. We didn’t get to see that view until the next morning, and it was quite the surprise. Our KOA spot was nice, but I can’t really fully review it. We were only there for 11 hours. One thing we can mention is that apparently this was the location where Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was filmed and that they play the movie in their outdoor theater every night at dusk. We were treated to this as we pulled into our spot, which had a great view of the theater.
What We Did
Despite our late arrival, we made it an early morning and were out of camp by 8am. Hats off the the KOA staff who were friendly (including shutting off/moving the sprinkler that was hitting our site when we pulled in) and helpful in getting us on the road and good luck to one of their sons who is a Paraolympian competing in Rio. After a little sleep and a lot of luck, we were at Devil’s Tower by 8:00AM opening. The KOA is on the border of the entrance, so it was a nice 1 minute drive. Had we done a little more research, we would have known that you can’t take trailers up to the parking lot near the visitor’s center. We had to unhook and drop our trailer near the entrance to the park, after just hooking it up 5 minutes prior. So be forewarned, if you are staying at the KOA there, drive up to see the Tower and then come back to grab your trailer on the way out of town (That being said, there were some spots up at the top that were labeled for RV’s, so if it is a slow day you could possibly go up there with your trailer, information that isn’t really publicized). Devil’s Tower has a nice trail around the monument and has a great visitor center. We were both surprised that people are allowed to climb the tower. Devil’s Tower stands at 867 feet from the base, 5,112 feet above sea level. By the time we got to the visitor center, three climbers have checked in. We waited to see if we can watch them, however, they weren’t quite ready to climb by the time we were there. Devil’s Tower is a sacred place for many Plain’s tribes (Lakota, Cheyenne, and Kiowa). Throughout our walk on the trail, we saw many sacrificial objects to the tower. This has caused a bit of controversy. The NPS has asked climbers not to climb during the month of June out of respect to local tribes – June is a month of celebration and ceremony. The visitor center showed both sides of the coin, with quotes from Native Americans, and famous climbers.
We saw deer & prairie dogs. The prairie dogs are so cute!!! Sparky agreed, but wanted to chase them.
What Would We Do Next Time
We were there for less than an hour. I think we covered most of it, with the exception of a Ranger guided tour. We are glad we stopped by, but probably wouldn’t make the trip again.
South Dakota!!!! We are here now – and we have lots of good stuff planned! Mount Rushmore, Caves, and Badlands! Will keep you posted!
Other note – we are running a bit behind on our Google photo albums with so many great photos taken in the National Parks we have been. We should be caught up in the next week or so, so keep checking back for new pictures.