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From its base, most visitors would surmise that the top of Devils Tower is a flat, barren pinnacle. As the approximately 4,000 climbers who make it to the peak each year will attest, the top of the tower isn't much different from the countryside that surrounds it -- except that it's said you can see five states.

The summit is actually slightly domed, with a few small outcroppings, and is covered with prairie grasses, prickly pear cactus, currant and gooseberry bushes, and native big sage, thanks to prairie falcons and turkey vultures that nest in the tower's columns and deposit seeds on top. A number of animals also have been spotted on the crown of Devils Tower, including rattlesnakes, pack rats, and cute red squirrels that have slithered and scampered up the cracks and fissures.

At the top, climbers may sign a register and record any unusual aspect or oddity of their adventure. More than 60,000 signatures have been gathered since records of tower climbs were established in 1937. In that time, climbers have used more than 220 routes to the top; in 1941 parachutist George Hopkins jumped from an airplane to the cap of the tower, then lost his escape rope and was stranded on top for 6 days.

Day's End at Devils Tower

Visitors to Devils Tower should take the time to stay a night, if only to watch the drama that unfolds at dusk. Head to Joyner Ridge via Joyner Ridge Rd., about 2 1/2 miles up the main road from the park entrance, with a picnic dinner on a nice night, and just gaze at the tower and watch the moon rise. It also offers a tremendous vantage point to photograph the tower. There are also occasional guided full-moon hikes here in the summer; contact the park for details.

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.