Devils Tower National Monument was stop number two, and our first overnight. We couldn’t have picked a better place.
Devils Tower is great for kids and families because…
(in no particular order, except the order I took the photos)
1. The Tower is cool. It’s a big igneous intrusion in the beautiful Black Hills. You can see it from miles away and the excitement builds as you get closer.
2. Bear Lodge, as it is known to some American Indians, is a sacred place. You can see evidence (such as this offering) of modern people paying respect to a historically important place.
3. It’s family friendly. Almost anyone can walk (or be carried or pushed around) the 1.3 mile loop trail that circumnavigates the tower.
4. It’s not just the tower, the views are pretty nice, too. The tower is on a hill, so there are expansive vistas in most directions.
5. The tower has many faces. As you walk around the rock, you get to know the tower more intimately. (And you’ll probably take way too many photos…)
6. The paved trail is easy to follow and good for letting little ones run ahead.
7. There are often climbers in the cracks of the tower. Kids love watching them. And you can see them without binoculars and hear what they are saying.
8. Wildlife makes the forest around the tower home. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, fox and rabbit hang out nearby. Unfortunately, bears no longer live in the area.
9. Binoculars along the trail allow for a close up view of the hexagonal columns that make up the tower.
10. At one point, the trail gets close enough to the rock that kids can reach out and touch the tower.
11. Parasitic plants lurk in the woods. And lots of other cool plants, too. The Ponderosa pines smell like vanilla, and kids love taking a whiff.
12. The trail around the tower is easy and safe enough to turn into a nighttime adventure.
13. The Belle Fourche campground had great views.
14. The campground has big grassy fields, perfect for kicking a soccer ball around and feels soft under the tent.
15. It’s not just about the tower, other trails explore the Black Hills and a prairie dog town. This one leaves right from the campground.
16. The Park Service makes an effort to acknowledge the people who were there first. It could be better, but from voluntary climbing closures in June for ceremonial purposes, signs requesting that visitors don’t touch the offerings left around the monument, to sculptures depicting the smoke of native peoples, it’s clear that this monument had a deep cultural significance before the first mountain man passed through.
17. Prairie dogs! They are cute, funny and fun to watch.
Wish you could find all the posts from this roadtrip in one place? You can! (Right here)
Little Bighorn Battlefield
Friends and family
Junior Ranger program and s’mores
Mt. Chapin and Dan turns 30
Ute Trail and Cache La Poudre
Wild Basin and Bear Lake
Breakfast, friends and going home