Devils Tower

Image of Devils Tower at sunset. From Devils Tower National Monument. Devils Tower was orange from the light of the sun. It was surrounded by green trees and grass. The sky transitioned from blue to orange as it merged with the horizon line of trees.
Sun Setting on Devil’s Tower
Joyner Ridge Trailhead, Devils Tower National Monument, SD; JUN 2021

We just returned home from a very long road trip; a trip that took us from California to Maine and back. One of the places we visited was Devils Tower National Monument. I wanted to visit because it is an iconic feature and I hoped to capture a sunrise and night sky shots. Like most of our trip we were in big sky country where the skies are not cloudy all day. That was unfortunate because high clouds would have set the sky ablaze with color at sunrise and sunset. So, I did my best with that I had.

Devils Tower is a small park. The visitors center sits at the end of the only road, and it is a short ride. There is a trail around the monument from the visitor’s center, but it was closed for construction.

Devils Tower is not a solid wall cliff face. It is a beautiful example of columnar joining; something that is typical of volcanic magma that has cooled slowly. In the case of Devils Tower, geologists believe it is an intrusion; i.e. magma pushed up and intruded between other rock. It cooled underground and formed the beautiful columns that make up its rock face. At the bottom of the tower is a boulder field made up of broken pieces from the columns above.

As we explored, we found the dirt road to the Joyner Ridge Trailhead and followed it. There we took a short hike up a knoll and sat on a bench to watch the sun set. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of calm and spirituality I felt up there. I am always awed by the beauty of nature but this was different and more. I often find peace hiking on trails but, again, this was more. Many Native American tribal groups hold Devils Tower as a sacred place for prayer and communing with the spirits. It was a blessing to be there.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

A close up of the rock columns that form Devils Tower.
Some of the Devils Tower Columns
Joyner Ridge Trailhead, Devil’s Tower National Monument, SD; JUN 2021
A close up of the rock face of Devils Tower. The Tower shown predominantly yellow. A small plant was growing to the bottom left of the image while a raven crossed the in front of the Tower in the upper right of the image.
Life at Devil’s Tower; Joyner Ridge Trailhead
Devil’s Tower National Monument, SD; JUN 2021

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