Sunrise at Devil’s Tower Wyoming

Last updated: December 12th, 2023 | Originally published: February 28, 2023

The sunrise comes early at the Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

After an hour-long drive in the dark, we found two other cars in the parking lot at 05:30.

While lacing up my boots I noticed a couple sleeping with their newborn baby in the car beside me.

The Devil’s Tower is a big deal in these parts. Even a baby wouldn’t want to miss a sunrise like this.

The sun took the sky slowly, obscured by the surrounding trees, and cast a pinkish hue in the corner of the sky.

But the sunrise at Devil’s Tower wouldn’t last long. This was the premier hour at this special place and hardly anyone was present.

Devil's Tower Wyoming
Ribbon Trees — Sunrise at Devil’s Tower Wyoming

As we set out on the mile-long path that circumnavigates the 1260′ monolith, we crossed paths with a small family returning to the parking lot. These were the last people we saw for the next 45 minutes.

When you walk around the Devil’s Tower National Monument, every five minutes or so a different angle of the outcrop appears through the trees. It looms magnificent in the morning sky, an ever-present king on a central throne. It is impossible to forget the king is present.

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The Legend of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

According to the Kiowa tribe, seven young girls were playing outdoors when they were spotted by some giant bears. The bears chased them, so the girls prayed to the Great Spirit for protection.

The ground beneath them began to rise up, pushing them upward towards the Heavens. The bears tried to climb the stone mountain, which left deep claw marks all around the rock.

The rock stretched so high into the sky that the girls were turned into the constellation Pleiades.

The Native tribes in these parts have long had cultural ties to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. The Lakota called it Mato Tapila, or Bear Lodge. A bad translation by the early white settlers referred to it as “Bad God Tower”, which was eventually shortened to the Devil’s Tower.

Theodore Roosevelt designated the geologic marvel the nation’s very first National Monument on September 4th, 1906.

It is considered to be an igneous intrusion by scientists, but also referred to as a volcanic neck. Today over 400,000 visitors pay fealty to Bear Lodge with their awe.

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A Forest of Trees, A Field of Deer

Devil's Tower Wyoming
Sunrise at Devil’s Tower Wyoming

One of the morning’s surprises was the abundance of deer feeding along the path. In the 1.5 hour stroll we sighted over a dozen deer.

The first one we saw was a buck sprinting across the landscape. Large and loud, he was gone as fast as he arrived. It was exhilarating to watch. But this was only the beginning.

Several baby deer were feeding on the path thirty yards further with no other deer in sight.

After standing and watching for a couple of minutes, we crept slowly to not disturb them, as this was their land not ours, and I felt intrusive disturbing their breakfast. Still, we weren’t about to stand there all day waiting for the baby deer to eat those particular blades of grass. Eventually they shied into the forest.

That was only the beginning, as the creature parade was now underway. Two by two, around every corner a young couple feasted on freshly dewed roughage. Sometimes they barely stepped aside to let us pass. Some would stand a mere 5-10 feet away, watching us as curiously as we watched them.

I like the below-left photo. It is an attractive angle on the tower, and it has a young doe in the corner. The doe’s mouth is open as if she were speaking. High on the tower above are a handful of rock climbers, whose conversations were clear from hundreds of feet away.

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Ribbon Trees in Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

First Nation groups will tie colored ribbons, also known as prints, to trees in sacred areas. The ritual is usually performed following a sweat lodge or pipe ceremony, and they customarily leave the prints tied to an Aspen east of the ceremonial site.

Different colored cloths represent the four cardinal directions, as well as earth elements: water, sun, wind, rain, thunder and lightning. The prints are deeply personal and represent the prayers, hopes, and aspirations of the participants. Practitioners of native spirituality are able to decipher the meaning of ribbon trees by observing the array of colors.

All around Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, Ribbon Trees can be found, as they are often placed in remote areas. The ribbons are sacred, and we can honor that by not disturbing them. In time, weather will eventually disintegrate the ribbons as the energy from the prints is sent to the Creator.

Related Article: Buffalo at Wind Cave National Park

Devil's Tower Wyoming
Devil’s Tower National Monument

An Honest Conclusion for Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

The Devil’s Tower, Wyoming is a fantastic place to visit. A full-day would suffice, and you can get away with less. However, there is more than enough here to fill your weekend in the surrounding mountains.

We will always recommend you arrive early to beat the crowd, but here especially so. Sunrise at Devil’s Tower is a special moment reserved for the diligent. By the time we arrived back at the parking lot there were over thirty cars. The trails were stacking with eager tourists as we drove away as thieves having stolen the day for ourselves.

And now we’re offering it to you!

If you are asking yourselves, is the Devil’s Tower worth it? Because it’s a little bit out of the way. The answer is an emphatic yes. Don’t miss the opportunity celebrate a sunrise at Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.

Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!

Devil's Tower Wyoming
Sunrise at Devil’s Tower Wyoming

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