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9 Top Things to Do at Devils Tower in Wyoming with Kids

Devils Tower National Monument for families in Wyoming.
Add Devils Tower National Monument to your Wyoming road trip itinerary. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

About 110 miles west of Rapid City, South Dakota, Wyoming’s Devils Tower is a convenient road trip stop. With hiking and picnicking, visitors can see this iconic site in a few hours. It has been featured in movies, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a Steven Speilberg movie about aliens released in 1977. This area is a unique geological site and sacred to many people.  For your visit, here are the top things to do at Devils Tower with kids.

Devils Tower at a Glance

Year Established: 1906
Located: Northeastern Wyoming
Size: 1,347 acres
Top Features: Its butte and a Prairie Dog Town

Top Things to Do at Devils Tower with Kids

  • Learn about Geology
  • Stop by the Visitor Center 
  • Take a Hike 
  • See the Prairie Dog Town
  • Attend a Ranger Program 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge
  • Enjoy a Picnic
  • Enjoy the Night Sky
  • Camp Near By

Why Visit Devils Tower

For decades, Devils Tour has fascinated me. When I added it to a South Dakota and Wyoming itinerary, it was more than I expected. Driving up, the tower is massive and dominates the landscape since the surrounding land is grassland.

Geologically, weathering has exposed the harder rock from the softer rock over the years. The tower is made of phonolite porphyry, a rare igneous rock. Visitors will see the rock tower first, and then the details will come into focus, like its cracks or fissures and the boulder field.

When you visit Devil Tower National Monument, you see the largest example of columnar jointing in the world. As you get closer, it might be possible to see climbers work up the rock face of Devils Tower.

There are several scientific theories on how the tower was exposed. So, this location is a great spot to learn more about geology.

With short hiking trails, interpretive signs and a prairie dog town, Devils Tower is an excellent road trip stop for a few hours whether you are headed to South Dakota’s Black Hills, Wyoming’s Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks. It is conveniently located on Interstate 90 in northeast Wyoming.

Earn a Junior Ranger Badge at Devils Tower National Monument
Taking the Junior Ranger Oath at the Devils Tower Visitor Center. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Devils Tower National Monument Visitor Center 

The Civilian Conservation Corps, a group of young men who built up the National Parks during the Great Depression, built the Visitor Center in 1933. Updated over the years, the Devils Tower National Monument is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mimicking a log cabin, it’s made of ponderosa pine logs and features interpretive displays. The center also hands out maps and Junior Ranger booklets. This is the spot where many of the Ranger programs start.

It is located at Hwy 110 Bldg 170 inside the park. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though closed in the winter from mid-February until the first week of March.

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Explore Devils Tower National Monument with your family.
Tower Trail offers families great views and an easy paved path at Devils Tower National Monument. credit: Catherine Parker

Hiking at Devils Tower

Hiking is my go-to activity for families in National Park Service Sites. Devil Tower offers several hikes for families.

  • Tower Trail–A 1.3 mile paved loop that encircles the Devils Tower, features Native American prayer clothes tied to the trees and shrubs. It starts a short way from the Visitor Center.
  • Joyner Ridge Trail–A 1.5-mile loop, offers a less crowded trail at the edge of the park.
  • Red Beds Trail–A 2.8-mile loop for views of Devils Tower.
  • South Side/Valley View Trails–A .6-mile trail that takes families to the Prairie Dog Town.
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The prairie dogs of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.
Kids love animals so stop by the Prairie Dog town in Devils Tower National Monument. credit: Catherine Parker

Visit the Prairie Dog Town

On the way out of the park, we stopped at the Prairie Dog Town, right inside the entrance gates. The kids loved watching them duck into their tunnel system.

Tip: Listen for their tiny barks as they communicate with each other. Don’t touch or feed them even though they’re super cute and might come up for a snack.

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What to Do in 2 Hours at Devils Tower

Devils Tower National Monument is an iconic destination for South Dakota and Wyoming road trips. It is located just north of Interstate 90 and about two hours east of Rapid City, South Dakota. For those continuing on to Yellowstone, it is about five hours east of Cody, Wyoming.

Best of all, you can see it in a couple of hours, depending on your itinerary.

  • Stop by the Visitor Center and see the interpretive display.
  • Attend a Ranger Talk.
  • Kids can earn a Junior Ranger Badge.
  • Hike the Tower Trail.
  • Drive through the Prairie Dog Village.

Kids at Devils Tower

The Junior Ranger Program is the go-to program for families to learn more about a National Park Service site. It’s free and takes about two hours to complete. My kids love the badges the Rangers present them with after they complete their booklet.

We stopped by the Visitor Center to pick up our Junior Ranger Booklets and sat down for a Ranger Talk, a requirement to earn the collectible badge. A volunteer ranger and school teacher explained how to climb Devil’s Tower and showed our group climbing equipment. My boys wanted to climb the 1,200-foot-high rock, but we hiked instead.

Guide to Junior Ranger Badges

Where to Picnic 

As a frequent visitor to National Parks, I recommend packing picnic supplies. Most National Park sites feature picnic areas. Devils Tower has two picnic areas. One is next to the Devils Tower Amphitheater and it features a parking area close by. The Belle Fouche Campground also has a picnic area.

If that’s not convenient when you are exploring. This park site features lots of benches along popular trails.

Dark Skies 

If you are staying overnight at Devils Tower, attend a Dark Skies Ranger Program. The Lakota people are known for their star knowledge. Passing down their observations for generations, learn about the Mato Tipila, a Lakota constellation.

Parks with Dark Skies 
Hike the Tower Trail at Devils Tower National Monument.
The Native American prayer clothes hang from tree branches on the Tower Trail. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

History of Devils Tower

Sacred to Native Americans, like the Northern Plains Indians, its native name was misinterpreted by explorers as Bad God’s Tower. When the monument was named, Bad God’s Tower became Devil’s Tower.

Since it is sacred to 20 different tribes, The Circle of Smoke sculpture by Junkyu Muto honors the significance. It’s located in the picnic area and frames Devils Tower.

Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the National Park Service’s first national monument in 1906.

A laccolithic butte of igneous rock sits in the Bear Lodge Mountains. Devils Tower stands 1,268 feet above the nearby Belle Fourche River. It offers one of the premier crack climbing areas in North America. Though most ascents take four to six hours, the fastest climb was completed in 18 minutes.

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A cozy cabin
Sitting on the porch of our cabin in Key Hole State Park, about an hour from Devils Tower National Monument. credit: Catherine Parker

Camping near Devils Tower

Devils Tower features a 46-site campground open from  The

Belle Fourche River Campground
  • Reservations Not Accepted
  • Seasonal from Mid-May until Mid-October
  • 46 sites
  • Potable water, though no hookups or showers

During my visit to Devils Tower National Monument, I found a nearby camping cabin at Key Hole State Park, 41 miles away from Devils Tower. It’a a quick 50-minute drive.

Our cabin featured full electricity, though no indoor plumping. The potable water is outside at the spigot. I had a picnic table overlooking a lake.

Key Hole State Park’s Cabins

Where’s Devils Tower

Located 33 miles northeast of Moorcroft, Wyoming, or 27 miles northwest of Sundance, Wyoming, on Wyoming Highway 24, Devils Tower is open 24 hours a day, closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Visitors Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Use an America the Beautiful annual pass ($80) or purchase a 7-day pass for $25 per vehicle to explore the monument.

  • Devils Tower is a popular destination, and I found limited parking at the base of the tower.
  • Arrive early during the summer season.
  • Don’t feed the Prairie Dogs. They carry Tularemia, a bacterial disease.
  • The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the first week of August and the park is a popular destination.
NPS Park Passes Guide

The Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming offers hiking, camping along with Ranger Programs. Here's all the details you need to plan your trip, what to do at Devils Tower, where to hike and where to stay while exploring Devils Tower National Monument along with camping. What to do in Devils Tower | Where to stay near Devils Tower | Road Trip Stops in Wyoming #NationalParks #Wyoming


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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