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Devils Tower is a big volcanic plug that towers over the surrounding prairie.
It looks like a giant tree stump. The tower has vertical grooves "ribs" of basalt
columns that are separating from the tower. The tower was in the movie Close
Encounters of the Third Kind. The vertical "ribs" make for
a very interesting lighting effects.
The tower is an easy photo subject. You can see it from a distance and
it can be photographed as you approach
the tower. The park road winds around from the east side
of the tower to the northwest corner giving you plenty of good views
to photograph it by just stepping
out of your car. One of the most dramatic views is right from the parking area
of the visitor center where you are looking straight up at the tower.
There are many tails that take you all around the monument at various distances from
it's base. There is usually
climbers on the tower that you can
Devils Tower is 33 miles northeast of Moorcroft. From Interstate 90 take exit 154
and go north on Route 14 to Route 24. About 11 miles after leaving the Interstate
you should have your first view of the tower. At Devils Junction turn right on
Route 24 and continue north to Route 110 and turn left. Just before the park
entrance you will find commercial services. There is entrance fee that you pay at
the park entrance. The visitor center is 3 miles farther at the end of the road.
During the summer it may be very difficult to find a parking space at the visitor
center. If you must visit during the summer, try to get there early. The road
approaches the tower form the east side and crosses the Belle river.
The tower rises 1,267 feet above the river valley.
The base is 1,000 feet wide.
About a half-mile from the entrance is an extensive prairie dog town just south of
the road. The prairie dogs here are quite used to people so you should be able to
get some good photos. They may dive below ground if you try to approach them to close. Use
Set up your camera with a 200-300mm lens and focus on one of the mounds. Soon one
of the sentries will pop up to have a look around. If you don't make any
threatening moves towards them you should be able to get some good shots as
they continue with their activities.
A pleasant side trip is to take the Valley View Trail. This trail can be picked
up from the northeast end of the prairie dog town or via the South Side Trail at
the west end of the prairie dog town or from the campground. It can also be part
of a loop trip from the Red Beds Trail described below. This trail skirts the
prairie dog town and follows the cottonwood-lined Belle Fourche River.
The 1.3-mile easy, paved Tower Trail that circles the base of the monument. This is a popular trail and very crowded. You are also very close to the monument, so you may want a wide-angle lens for your tower photos and a telephoto to photograph climbers. Allow at least an hour.
Red Beds Trail
is a wider 3-mile loop around the tower. It is less crowded and there are more open views
Joyner Ridge Trail
is north of the visitor center.
The start of the Joyner Ridge Trail is a good destination for an excellent sunset or sunrise view of the Devil's Tower.
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