The Nation's First National Monument Is Right Here In Wyoming And You'll Want To Visit
Wyoming is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world, and many of our forests and wilderness areas are federally protected. Did you know that the very first National Monument was designated right here in the Equality State? This sacred site will be preserved forever, thanks to the actions of President Roosevelt over 110 years ago.
Devils Tower National Monument is located in northeast Wyoming, near the town of Sundance.
In 1906, Devils Tower was named the first United States National Monument by President Teddy Roosevelt.
Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to protect prehistoric and significant NAtive American artifacts, ruins, and sacred sites on federally owned land in the American West. Roosevelt went on to protect sections of the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest in Arizona.
To this day, Devils Tower remains a mysterious and breathtaking part of Wyoming landscape.
The Butte was most likely formed by volcanic rock, though the exact origin is unknown. Some scientists believe Devils Tower is all that's left of an enormous volcano, while others believe it is the eroded remains of a much larger mountain or rock.
There are many Native American legends about the creation of Devils Tower, or as it is known to the native tribes, Bears Den, or Bears Lodge.
In Kiowa and Lakota lore, a group of girls were out playing when several giant bears began to chase them. They climbed onto a rock and prayed for the Great Spirit to help them. The Great Spirit made the rock grow into the formation it is today, and the bears left deep claw marks as they tried to climb to the girls.
According to Sioux legend, two young boys wandered away from their home when an enormous bear decided he wanted to eat them. Like in the Kiowa and Lakota legends, the Sioux boys prayed for safety, and the land grew into an enormous rock. This bear also left claw marks in the sides of the rock. A legendary Eagle saved the boys from the top of the butte.
In Cheyenne legend, young girls are able to trick the bears into thinking they're at the top of the rock, and young boys manage to shoot the bear as it attempts to climb.
Every year, hundreds of rock climbers ascend to the top, but most of the tower's 400,000 annual visitors are content to view it from the ground.
You can visit Devils Tower National Monument any time, as it's open 24/7, 365 days a year. Please be respectful and stay on the trails. You can find more about Ranger-led interpretive programs are offered through the visitor's center:
see the event calendar here.
. The nearby
Belle Fourche River Campground
is open May through October, and no pets are allowed on trails.
There’s always so much to discover here, it’s a wonder we’re ever inside! For more of Wyoming’s great wilderness, read about
The Crystal-Clear Wyoming Lake That Is Ranked Among The Top In The World!
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