It’s quite intriguing that the first national monument in the United States is not made by the hands of men. In fact, this towering natural landmark means more to the American Indians than it is to the forefathers who established the colonies.
Bears Lodge, as others would often refer to it, is believed by American Indians as a sacred site. Knowing its significance, then President Theodore Roosevelt designated it as a national monument in 1906. That’s the Devils Tower as we know it today.
One might wonder why it was called as such. In truth, the landmark was supposed to be called as Devil’s Tower. But the apostrophe was inadvertently omitted when the proclamation was published. With no luck editing this clerical error, the name stands to this day. Rising over a thousand, it overlooks the Belle Fourche River. Its top is actually the size of a football field. Erosion has made it possible for people to view the tower’s magnificence. With more than 1,300 acres of vast area surrounding the area, it’s no wonder flora and fauna abound. Woodlands and pine forests cover much of the park while wildlife creatures roam around its grasslands.
If you are planning to take the Tower Walk – trekking the Devils Tower trail with a ranger – be sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes. It would also help if you could bring drinking water along the way.
Climate here is usually mild, but trails are not maintained during winter season. However, visitors can go for cross-country skiing during the cold months. Those who are into rock climbing or simply wish to spend some time at the top of the tower can do so by registering first at the visitor’s center. But because this is considered as a sacred site by American Indians, a voluntary climbing closure is implemented in the month of June.