Devils Tower, the next day

The evening bike ride really tired us out, but after a good night's sleep we were ready to break camp and see the tower up close with sufficient light.

We left pretty early as we knew from the previous evening that there were limited parking spots for RVs up there. (That's the view from our campsite with the tower lit by the morning light. So nice!)


What a joy to be able to climb this road without effort, no pedaling required! After parking we made our way to the debris field:

There is a paved path that is about a mile long and circles the base of the tower. You can see a bit of the path at the bottom of this image.

I wonder what the tower looked like before all of these boulders fell off?

They're quite large, and there are thousands of them!

Apparently you're allowed to climb on these boulders.

We did not.

We were too interested in seeing the tower from every vantage point. About 1200 feet (365m) tall, almost straight above us. Wow.

Turning around to look to the east, our campground was down in that valley behind the trees:

Nice view, but back to the rock please:

Sorry if I get a little carried away with these images, but this place really fascinated me!

This tower is made up of many, many individual columns -- it was formed by "an intrusion of igneous material". In other words, magma was pushed up through the surrounding sedimentary rock, but it's not clear how exactly. Want to read more theories? Try this page.

Want to see more instead?

Fire damage from a prescribed burn from a few months earlier was evident:

But it was the rock face that held the real danger, at least for some visitors:

I don't know that I'd want to make this climb, but thanks to these thrill seekers you get a better sense of scale of the tower. I wondered why there always seemed to be a vulture circling above...

The view keeps changing as you make your way around:

...but you should turn around every once in a while or you may miss something... some point though, you can't see much of the tower:

I'm pretty sure this is the side where the alien landing platform should be...

...but there's nothing here.

Good thing the trail didn't start on this side, or nobody would want to make the hike -- not much of a view!

Go a little farther though to the north side...

...and you're rewarded with the best view of the columnar structure:

So where are these fallen columns?

There's one, or at least part of it.

Looking at the evidence of the tower's erosion, I couldn't help but worry that this marvel wouldn't be around for very long. Then I read that since it became a national monument in 1906 none of the columns have fallen -- they may look like they've recently broken free, but they haven't. This thing is not crumbling!

At this point in the walk (about 75% around) I had my fill of the tower for the day, and we focused on just getting back to the RV so we could hit the road. Not looking up every 10 seconds was nice because it let me notice the surrounding forest better:

It's not too difficult to imagine a boulder breaking free and crashing its way down here into the trees...

Incidentally, since it was still relatively early in the morning there were few other visitors. We did meet an older man wearing a light blue windbreaker walking the path in the other direction... then met him again a bit later! I jokingly asked if he was doing laps -- he replied "I think I made a wrong turn!"

So all of these wonderful rocks, and I didn't take any photos of lichen?

Of course I did!

I also saw this simple but nice (and new) bench:

As you probably know, I'm a sucker for benches, and always keep my eyes open for different designs. This one requires some metal parts so it's not something I'm going to build myself, but maybe in the future.

So that was our time at Devils Tower National Monument. It really is worth a stop if you'll be passing through Wyoming on your way to a "bigger" destination.

Any questions? Ask in the comments!

(I earlier wrote it as "Devil's" Tower, when it's really plural, non-possessive "Devils". Sorry about that!)


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Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (September 24, 2013 at 7:49 AM)  

Thank you for another wonderful post
I hate to be climbing the tower when it calves a chunk of boulder

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 24, 2013 at 10:59 AM)  

I'd love to have a few of those boulders in my garden :-).

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