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.
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.