South Dakota/Wyoming Road Trip: Day 5

We left South Dakota on a very rainy day and headed to eastern Wyoming to one of the most notable landmarks in the west: Devils Tower. The rain was relentless until we crossed the border into Wyoming and got our first glimpse of the tower. On this cloudy, gloomy day the tower seemed quite ominous, like a dark finger sticking up above the hills. There’s a nice paved loop trail that circles around the base of the tower, giving us multiple perspectives of its mass. If you look closely, you can see different colored lichen on the rock ribs, giving it an almost rainbow effect in just the right light.

Devil's Tower

There are a couple of nearby trails where you can get some nice “distant” views of the tower. After our hike around the base of the tower, we decided to take a walk on the nearby Joyner Ridge Trail. The trail makes a loop around the top of Joyner Ridge, giving visitors some of the most spectacular views of the tower found anywhere in the park. The best part is the quiet isolation of this trail; the whole time we were there, we didn’t see another person; a nice change from the somewhat crowded base loop trail.

After satisfying ourselves with spectacular views of the Devils Tower, we headed west to our final destination: the Bighorn Mountains.


About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company ( After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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