How Was Devil’s Tower in Wyoming Formed?

Devil’s Tower stands majestically in northeastern Wyoming, a colossal rock formation that captivates all who behold it. But how did this iconic monolith come to be? Let’s delve into the geological marvel of Devil’s Tower and uncover the fascinating story behind its formation.


Nestled amidst the serene landscape of the Black Hills, Devil’s Tower rises 867 feet above the Belle Fourche River, casting an imposing silhouette against the sky. This geological wonder has long been a source of wonder and awe for visitors from around the world.

Formation of Devil’s Tower

Magma Intrusion

Millions of years ago, deep beneath the Earth’s surface, molten rock, or magma, began to intrude into the existing rock layers. As the magma slowly cooled and solidified, it formed a massive igneous intrusion, creating the foundation for what would later become Devil’s Tower.

Columnar Jointing

As the molten rock cooled further, it underwent a process known as columnar jointing. This occurs when rock contracts as it cools, resulting in the formation of hexagonal columns that are characteristic of Devil’s Tower’s appearance. Over time, erosion gradually exposed these columns, revealing the towering structure we see today.

You may also read: How the Devil’s Tower Was Formed?

Native American Legends

Bear Lodge

For centuries, Native American tribes, including the Lakota, Crow, and Cheyenne, have revered Devil’s Tower as a sacred site. Known to the Lakota as “Bear Lodge,” it features prominently in their mythology, with various legends explaining its origins, including stories of bears and giant birds.

Scientific Exploration

First Recorded Climb

In 1893, Devil’s Tower gained further attention when it was ascended for the first time by two local ranchers, William Rogers and Willard Ripley. Their daring feat brought the tower to the attention of the wider world and sparked interest among scientists and explorers.

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Recreation and Tourism

Rock Climbing

Today, Devil’s Tower is a mecca for rock climbers, attracting enthusiasts from across the globe eager to test their skills on its sheer walls. Climbing routes of varying difficulty offer challenges for both novice and experienced climbers alike, making it a popular destination for adrenaline seekers.

Wildlife Viewing

Beyond its allure for climbers, Devil’s Tower is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The surrounding area teems with diverse flora and fauna, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife photography.

Cultural Significance

Close Encounters

In popular culture, Devil’s Tower achieved widespread recognition thanks to its prominent appearance in Steven Spielberg’s classic film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The movie’s climactic scenes, set against the backdrop of the tower, cemented its status as an iconic symbol of otherworldly wonder.

Conservation Efforts

National Monument Status

Recognizing the importance of preserving this natural treasure, Devil’s Tower was designated as the first National Monument in the United States by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. This status ensures the protection of its unique geological features and surrounding ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.


In conclusion, Devil’s Tower stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring forces of nature and the enduring significance of cultural and geological heritage. From its mysterious origins to its enduring allure for climbers and tourists alike, Devil’s Tower continues to capture the imagination and inspire wonder.

Also read: 10 Facts About Devils Tower


1. Why is Devil’s Tower called Devil’s Tower?

  • The name “Devil’s Tower” is believed to have originated from a mistranslation of a Native American name, possibly derived from the term “Bad God’s Tower” or “Bear Lodge.”
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2. Can you climb Devil’s Tower?

  • Yes, rock climbing is permitted on Devil’s Tower, but climbers are required to obtain a free climbing permit and adhere to certain regulations to protect the tower’s natural integrity.

3. How tall is Devil’s Tower?

  • Devil’s Tower rises to a height of 867 feet above the surrounding landscape.

4. Is Devil’s Tower part of a national park?

  • No, Devil’s Tower is a National Monument, which is managed by the National Park Service but differs from a national park in terms of its designation and management.

5. Are there guided tours available at Devil’s Tower?

  • Yes, visitors can join guided tours led by park rangers to learn more about the geology, history, and cultural significance of Devil’s Tower.

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