Climbing Information



The visitor center parking lot is currently under construction and parking is limited. We encourage climbers to park in the lower / gravel lot of the visitor center parking lot. This lot provides more shade for cars parked all day and allows short-term visitors more parking in the upper / paved lot. At the stop sign at the head of the parking area, turn right and follow the gravel road to the lower / gravel lot. The lower lot also has its own exit to the main park road, allowing you to easily head out at the end of a long day's climb.

A climber uses the crack between columns to scale the walls of the Tower
Crack climbing is a specialized technique used on many routes at Devils Tower

NPS photo / Lucas Barth


Hundreds of parallel cracks divide Devils Tower into large hexagonal columns. These features make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America. The cracks vary in length and width: some are wide enough to fit your entire body, others barely have room for your fingers; the longest crack extends nearly 400 feet upwards.

Technical difficulty ratings range from 5.7 to 5.13; many modern climbers consider the oldest routes (Durrance and Wiessner) harder than their original ratings. The majority of routes at the Tower are not bolt protected and require the appropriate selection of camming devices or other temporary anchors. The few bolted face climbs that exist were established in the 1980s and 1990s; the condition of some bolts reflect that era.


  • Register before your climb and deposit the return slip when you finish
  • Observe posted route closures; contact the park for specific closure areas
  • Do not leave gear on the Tower (including ropes, cams, stoppers, etc.)
  • No camping/bivouacking on the Tower (camp in the campground)
  • Pets are not allowed on the Tower or the trails - only in developed areas
  • Chipping or gluing holds, gardening, excessive route cleaning, drilling or installing permanent gear are all prohibited

Extra Information

These handouts are available in the park, and here online for your convenience. You can also view a 3D model of the Tower online.

Climber Registration

Registration is a legal requirement for all persons planning to climb or scramble above the boulder field; register before your climb, and deposit the return slip at the end of each climb. Failure to obtain a permit is subject to citation and fine. This mandatory registration is free and in the best interests of you and the climbing community: it ensures climber safety, documents use of the Tower as a climbing resource, and becomes part of a historical database that has been maintained since 1937.

Registration can be completed at the climbing kiosk at the head of Tower Trail (visitor center parking lot). Complete the left side of the card and keep the right side to deposit after your climb.

Climbers are asked to park their vehicles in the lower gravel parking lot. This can be reached by taking a right at the stop sign when they reach the top of the park road.

Climbing Rangers

The park employs climbing rangers, generally from late spring to early fall. You may contact the climbing office by phone at (307) 467-5283 x632.


Words of Wisdom

  • Routes: Routes are typically long and sustained in grade. Experience climbing and using technical rock climbing equipment is required to safely climb at Devils Tower National Monument. Consult multiple sources for information on a route, as suggested gear varies between guidebooks.
  • Rappelling: The majority of climbing accidents and deaths on the Tower occurred during the rappel. The National Park Service does not maintain anchors - inspect all anchors and back them up if necessary. Ensure you know the location of your rappel route before you begin. Start rappels over the nose of columns to prevent ropes from jamming in cracks. Avoid knocking loose rock onto climbers below. Many rappels require two ropes; know the distance of your planned rappel before beginning.
  • Weather: Obtain forecast information before climbing and observe changing weather conditions. Summer days can bring hot temperatures, and the rock of the Tower can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Storm systems develop quickly in the Black Hills. Lightning, rain, hail, slippery surfaces, and hypothermia are possible during storms.
  • Emergencies: Your safety is your responsibility. In the event of an emergency, remain calm and attempt to call 911 or yell down to the Tower Trail. Assistance from local resources and monument staff may be available, though rescue is not certain.
  • Other Hazards: Climbing helmets are strongly recommended due to frequent rock falls. Significant hazards should be reported to a ranger in the climbing office or visitor center. Watch for animals (stinging insects, birds, rodents and reptiles all live on the Tower) and falling rocks while climbing.

Climbing Management Plan

The Climbing Management Plan (CMP) for Devils Tower National Monument was released in February 1995. This plan provides direction for climbing activities at Devils Tower to protect the natural and cultural resources of the park.

A Climbing Management Plan Update was completed in 2006. The CMP Update clarifies points related to climber education, safety standards and climbing access routes. This update also continues the June voluntary climbing closure (see below).

Regulations are essential to protect the natural environment, the heritage and culture of American Indians, climbers, and the general public. The park asks all climbers to act responsibly by knowing and adhering to park regulations. The 1995 Climbing Management Plan and the 2006 CMP Update are available for the public.


June Voluntary Climbing Closure

American Indians have regarded the Tower as a sacred site long before climbers found their way to the area. As visitation increased and climbing became more popular, American Indian people have expressed concerns about recreational climbing at the Tower. Some perceive climbing on the Tower as a desecration to their sacred site.

A key element of the Climbing Management Plan is the June Voluntary Climbing Closure; this is a compromise reached during development of the CMP by a workgroup that included representatives from climbing and American Indian communities. The National Park Service advocates this closure to promote understanding and encourage respect for the culture of American Indian tribes associated with the Tower. June is a culturally significant time when many (but not all) Indian ceremonies occur. Although voluntary, this closure has been very successful - resulting in a significant reduction in the number of climbers during June. The voluntary nature of the closure hinges on minimizing climbing during this period.

Throughout June, the park asks visitors to voluntarily refrain from climbing on the Tower or scrambling inside of the Tower Trail loop. Please 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 park also encourages you to use resources such as the Mountain Project to locate other climbing destinations. The Access Fund, a national climbing organization, fully supports the voluntary closure and the park's CMP.


Protect the Tower

The Tower base, sides and summit are fragile environments. Use established approach trails to climbing routes to protect the soils, plants and wildlife at the base of the Tower. Be mindful of animal homes and sensitive plants as you climb. Minimize your impact on the summit by stepping on rocks rather than plants or soil. Practice Leave No Trace ethics: stay on trails, respect other visitors, pack out all litter, etc. Human waste must be packed out (supplies are available at the visitor center bookstore).

Commercial Guide Services

Several climbing guide companies hold permits for operating at Devils Tower National Monument. You may contact the park or search the internet for more information. When using a commercial guide service, make certain the company has a valid permit for guiding climbs at Devils Tower.

Establishing New Routes

Since the installation of new bolts and fixed pitons is prohibited, new route establishment is rare. This regulation must dictate the style of your ascent. If you do pioneer a new route or variation, climbers are asked to fill out a form available in the Climbing Office.


Climbing in the National Parks

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    Tags: climbing

    Last updated: October 2, 2020

    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    PO Box 10
    Devils Tower, WY 82714


    (307) 467-5283 x635
    Devils Tower National Monument Visitor Center Phone Number

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