Scenic USA - Wyoming

Devils Tower

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Devils Tower National Monument, Hulett, WY

Photos by Mark Nielsen
Mark's Independence

     An icon of Wyoming's eastern plains, Devils Tower is seen here breaking the skyline with its signature flat-topped outline. This geologic wonder rises 1253 feet (382 m) Devils Tower Detail - Columnar Jointing above the nearby Belle Fourche River Valley, attracting both visitors and climbers from around the world.
     Established as a National Monument on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, park visitors will quickly discover the tower is considered sacred to American Indians. A place for prayer and renewal, Native prayer bundles and cloths can be seen tucked into rock crevices around the tower.
     Along with the area's cultural history, The Devils Tower Visitor Center conveys a brief look at the geology behind this intriguing formation. The tower itself is a steep-sided igneous body and possibly a remnant of a volcanic neck. It is made of magma which solidified at a shallow level below the surface, creating columnar joints. When this igneous rock cooled, the rock developed shrinkage fractures, producing elongated pillarlike columns. Erosion and frost wedging striped the outer layers of rock away and formed a huge tallis Devils Tower Close Up slope around the base of the huge monolith. A 1.3 mile pathway encircles the tower and allows visitors to see the tower from every angle. Climbers are often seen at various levels as they attempt to scale this rock wonder. Ranger led tours follow the Tower Trail and offer a different view of the area's indigenous people, the monolith's geology and the park's diverse wildlife.
     The rolling hills of this 1347 acre park are covered with pine forests, deciduous woodlands and prairie grasslands. The park's outlying Joyner Ridge, Valley View and and Red Beds trails provide a great way to explore the entire park. Deer, pronghorn, black-tailed prairie dogs, and other wildlife are abundant throughout the parkland and provide plenty of excitement for its visitors.

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