The movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" put Devil's Tower on my radar and I have wanted to visit ever since. From where we are staying, it's about a half hour drive and there it popped up on the horizon. It's such an incongruous sight considering the surroundings.
What a sight! Also, another national park at which traffic is light.
Passing through the entrance, we pass "Prairie Dog Park" with dozens of the critters scrambling into and out of their homes.
We park and begin our hike on one of the two trails that go around the Tower. The inner trail is paved and 1.3 miles long, the outer trail is dirt and almost 3 miles.
Great views which include the Belle Fourche River, which had a hand in creating the Tower.
A rock balancing on another. We deemed in "Northern Mexican Hat".
The trail included a visit to a decent cave. I stuck my head in but it appeared to peter out.
The stone and dirt are a light brown on one side of the Tower and then red on the other.
The trail continues but eventually, a pretty good climb of 1.22 miles having an average grade of 5.5% takes us back to the parking lot. Amy wanted to do the route again so we decided to go separate directions. This suited me as I thought that final climb would have a Strava segment and so I planned to put in a good effort.
The only way to the top is via multiple climbing routes. The first documented climb was in 1893. Note, upper right, someone standing on top of a stone column. I reached the bottom of the climb, walked as fast as I could and....
....captured the KOM on this climb. I was happy about that. Then, having hiked the outer trail twice, we....
....hiked the inner, paved trail, finishing the day with 7.5 miles and a little over 1000' of climbing. While hiking the inner trail, we reached a spot where one of the wooden ladders, used in the first known ascent, could be seen in a crevice. It's up there but don't bother trying to find it. Fun day.