• America's First

    Devils Tower

    National Monument Wyoming

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  • Climbing closure

    There is a climbing closure in effect on the SW butress of the Tower. Ask for details at the Climbing Office.

Things To Know Before You Come

Temporary Climbing Closure

There is a temporary closure of climbing routes on the west face and southwest shoulder of the Tower after monument staff observed prairie falcons with defensive nesting behavior near McCarthy West Face. Specific routes within the closure include Good Holds for Godzilla (# 135) through Blade City (#192) described in the Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Handbook. The edges of the Tower summit above these routes are also closed. Other popular routes temporarily closed include Mac West, El Matador, Mr. Clean, the Southwest Buttress,andRangers Are People Too. The routes are temporarily closed for the protection of prairie falcons and the protection of climbers against the defensive nesting birds.

Climbing routes on the Tower's north and northwest shoulder are re-opened. These routes include Mac North, One Way Sunset, and Carol's Crack. The annual closure for nesting prairie falcons was established under the monument's 1995 Climbing Management Plan with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Temporary closures are necessary when prairie falcons are nesting. The presence of climbers on the Tower near or above falcon nests is distressing to the parent birds. The birds become extremely defensive by diving at climbers. Disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks. The temporary closure is implemented not only for the protection of the birds, but also for the protection of climbers, as falcons are known to defensively dive at intruders as they attempt to guard their nests. Climbers are asked to report falcon behavior to a park ranger.

American Indians have regarded the Tower as a sacred site long before climbers found their way to the area. Recently, American Indian people have expressed concerns over recreational climbing at Devils Tower. Some perceive climbing on the Tower as a desecration to their sacred site. It appears to many American Indians that climbers and hikers do not respect their culture by the very act of climbing on or near the Tower.
A key element of the Climbing Management Plan is the June Voluntary Climbing Closure. The National Park Service has decided to advocate this closure in order to promote understanding and encourage respect for the culture of American Indian tribes who are closely affiliated with the Tower as a sacred site. June is a culturally significant time when many (not all) ceremonies traditionally occur. Although voluntary, this closure has been very successful - resulting in an 80% reduction in the number of climbers during June.
During June, the NPS asks climbers to voluntarily refrain from climbing on the Tower and hikers to voluntarily refrain from scrambling within the inside of the Tower Trail Loop. Please strongly consider the closure when planning a climbing trip to Devils Tower. Alternative climbing areas are located within 100 miles of Devils Tower National Monument. The Access Fund fully supports the voluntary closure and the Climbing Management Plan at Devils Tower.

Line of traffic at park's entrance station during Sturgis Rally.

Line of traffic at entrance station during Sturgis Rally.

NPS Photo

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place each August in Sturgis, South Dakota, about 80 miles from Devils Tower. Tens of thousands of motorcyclists come from all over. Many of them visit Devils Tower during the rally. The Wednesday of rally week is usually the busiest day at the park.

Some visitors like the rally, however others would rather avoid it. In order to help plan your visit, below are the dates for some upcoming rallies.

August 4-10, 2014

Did You Know?

Devils Tower at sunset

It is believed that the Tower got its name when Colonel Dodge's translator misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God's Tower, later shortened to Devils Tower. Some Indians call it Mato Tipila, meaning Bear Lodge. Other American Indian names include Bear’s Tipi, Home of the Bear, and Tree Rock.