Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower is a place I have been thinking and dreaming about for several years. It all started when I was in the gift shop in Yosemite National Park and happened to see a postcard for Devil’s Tower. Up until then, I’d never heard of it. But the image was seared in my mind and I swore I’d make it there one day. Well, the day finally arrived on our most recent van life adventure and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.
Traveling to Devils Tower National Monument
Getting to Devils Tower is fairly straightforward. We were coming from the east (we’d visited Mount Rushmore before heading here) and took route 90 for most of the way. Be sure to get directions ahead of time, especially if you will be using a GPS. Though we had a fairly strong signal the entire time, you never know! The physical address is WY-110, Devils Tower, Wyoming 82714.
We recommend using GPS Coordinates: 44.5902° N, 104.7146° W
Where to Stay
If you’re approaching Devils Tower from the east, you’ll see a bunch of really cool tipis on a hillside and a red building close to the road. That’s Devils Tower Tipi Camping. We had no idea it was there but made a U-turn as soon as we saw it. There happened to be one tipi left and we got it! Juliana is the owner and is super friendly.
Each tipi comes with a camp stove, water, a non-electric coffee maker, propane lantern and a solar lantern. The 14′ tipis are $50 a night and the 16′ tipis are $50 a night. You can also rent a sleeping pad, sheets, blanket and pillows for $10.
To book a stay with her, head to her website Devils Tower Tipi Camping!
There’s also a campground, the Belle Fourche River Campground that’s open seasonally (May – October). It can accommodate RVs and tents but works on a first come first serve basis. There are also three group sites. There aren’t any hookups, showers or laundry facilities at this campground but there are grills, picnic tables and water. Individual sites are $20 and group sites are $30. There are also 4 accessible sites and they are $20 each.
Best Hikes at Devils Tower National Monument
The Tower Trail is the most popular trail. It’s a 1.3 mile paved loop that goes around the base of the tower. There are a couple of hills but there are benches along the way for you to rest. Bring your camera because there are several great photo opportunities along the way.
Red Beds Trail
If you hike the Tower Trail, you’ll actually pass the trail head for Red Beds. It’s on your left as you go up the paved path. If you want to run counterclockwise, look for the trailhead a little closer to the visitors center. This trail is a nice mixture of short climbs, short descents, epic views and fun, runnable single track. Does this sound like music to your ears? We loved it. Round trip the trail is 2.8 miles. There are a couple of places where the trail intersects with another, so make sure to read the signs and/or carry a map with you.
Joyner Ridge Trail
After running the Tower Trail and Red Beds, if you still have enough in your legs, head on over to the Joyner Ridge Trail. To get there, you can either run up from the dirt road that, as you’re leaving the visitor center, will be on your right hand side, or you can drive up there. The trailhead is clearly marked and the parking lot is big enough for several cars. We went clockwise and were glad we did because the descent is fairly steep and the climb back up to the van is more mild. You’ll get an incredible view of Devils Tower so bring your camera or GoPro on this one as well.
Climbing Devils Tower
All climbers need to register with a park ranger before climbing. There are signs throughout the park marking where visitors can rock scramble and where they must stop. Going beyond the yellow line can actually lead to a citation and a fine.
Please note that throughout June, the park asks visitors to refrain from climbing on the Tower. This also pertains to scrambling on the rocks inside of the Tower Trail loop. To learn more about the closure in June as well as other Devils Tower climbing information, head on over to the park’s website.
Tips for Visiting Devils Tower
Bring lots of water! There’s a water fountain near the visitors center so be sure to fill up before your hike.
The park is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Going at night is a cool thing to do. There is so little light pollution in this part of the world that you can do some great stargazing. We had fun doing night photography!
The park is in the Mountain Time Zone.
Pets are not allowed on the trails.
There isn’t any food sold within the park so come prepared.
The Joyner Ridge Trail mentioned above is a great place to see stars at night as well as take night photography. Just make sure to bring a headlamp and a map.
There are several nighttime events at the park scattered throughout the year. Check the park’s website to see what events might be happening during your visit. We were a couple of days away from a meteor shower but would have loved to go to this event and hear what a ranger had to say.
Devils Tower National Monument Recap
This park is one of the coolest places we’ve ever been to. Not only does it look incredible and make for a wonderful photograph, but it also has some really fun trails to run. We recommend putting this park on your list of places to visit.
Also in the area: Badlands National Park
Have you been to Devils Tower? If so, what did you think? We’d love to hear from you!