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Climbing the Tower

Climbers must register with the park before starting and upon their return; otherwise, there are no requirements for climbing the tower. Be prepared for sudden storms; carry rain gear and a flashlight. Rockfall is common, so helmets are advised. Ask a ranger for additional safety and climbing information. The visitor center has a list of those permitted to guide climbs up the tower. I recommend Frank Sanders's Above All Climbing Guides and Instruction (tel. 888/314-5267; www.devilstowerclimbing.com), which specializes in working with novice climbers and has rates starting at $250 per day for two people or $300 per day for one. Sanders operates a climbing gym at his Devils Tower Lodge on the monument boundary, where introductory packages begin, and always has at least one guide for every two customers.

A voluntary climbing ban is observed each June out of respect for American Indian religious ceremonies on Devils Tower at that time.

Day Hikes

Devils Tower will announce itself (through your windshield) miles before you arrive. In fact, you may drive to within a few hundred yards of the tower, but the real highlight of any nonclimbing visit to Devils Tower is the park's trails; get out and enjoy them. Pets are not allowed on trails.

The paved 1.3-mile Tower Trail, rated easy, goes all the way around the tower, offering close-up views of the tower on fairly level ground. Wayside exhibits tell the Devils Tower story.

There are several other trails: the scenic Red Beds Trail, 3 miles; Southside Trail, .6 mile; Joyner Ridge Trail, 1.5 miles; Valley View Trail, .6 mile (or you can combine Southside and Valley View for 1.2 miles). None of the trails get very crowded, so these are a good way to examine the terrain around the monument, including the pine forest and the prairie dog town, and avoid some of the summer crowds.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.