Wyoming (1,559 m) – Sacred Mountain of the Lakota and Other Local Tribes
Devil’s Tower is one of the most unique and amazing rock formations on Earth. Formed by a highly unlikely combination of geological processes, the result is an immense monolith of mixed sedimentary rock that rises like a nearly vertical column from the surrounding plain. Also known as the Brown Buffalo Horn by local tribes, and was the first place in the United States to be designated as a national monument.
Located just to the northwest of the Black Hills, Devil’s Tower is one of the most sacred Native American sites. Among different tribes there are various stories of the origin of the mountain, all with common themes. In most, several children seek to escape an immense creature. They were rescued when the Gods raised up the mountain, leaving the beast to futily scrape at the sides with its claws. Devil’s Tower has become a part of general American folklore, and was prominently featured in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the site of an alien visitation.
Devil’s Tower is remote even by regional standards. However, thanks to is position enroute from the Black Hills to Yellowstone National Park, it still sees a descent number of visitors every year. Best accessed from the towns of Gilette or Spearfish, each about fifty miles away, the closest major city is Rapid City, approximately 90 miles to the southeast.