Northeast Wyoming is home to one of the most remarkable landscape features in the United States. The towering mass of volcanic rock known as Devils Tower has long been the destination of curious travelers and is the source of several Native American legends describing the origin of the rock formation. We made a short detour on our way from Indiana to Seattle to see this striking and beautiful gift from Earth.
Seen from a distance, this “tower” is one of the most striking features in Wyoming
One of the legends of the origin of the tower tells the story of girls who were pursued by a huge bear. The girls prayers were answered when the Great Spirit caused the rock to raise from the ground with the girls safely on top. The bear attempted to climb the smooth sides of the rock, and his claws made the distinctive shapes we see today.
Geologists tell us that the tower was made when volcanic intrusions of lava pushed up into thick layers of sandstone, now eroded away after millions of years. The rock, an igneous basalt type, took on the shapes of columns when it cooled. Called a columnar formation, this shape is not uncommon and can be found in rocks all over the world.
Close up shot of the columnar structure. Each “column” is about 8 feet across!
The Devils Tower was the first designated US National Monument, so declared by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The first Caucasians saw the tower in the 1850’s. It was the site of the famous finish of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
We really enjoyed our trip to Yellowstone National Park. The scenery is magnificent, the geothermal features are powerful, exciting to view and have a beauty all their own. Of course seeing the wildlife at Yellowstone is one of the most sought after attractions in the park.
The geysers cover the walkways with steam
This bull bison strolled right by us on the road.
Geothermal hot springs pool
We were traveling across Wyoming in early December on I-80. We saw row after row of elaborate snow fences that had been constructed on the south side of the highway, set back about 40 yards or so. We saw them mile after mile as we crossed the state.
The shore of West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake
Going through some of the photos from our trip this past summer I couldn’t help but share this great photo of Sher at our stop in Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming.
The panorama of Hayden Valley is striking.
Love the river in this stretch.
Side wall of the Yellowstone Mud Volcano
What a pale grey color.
This is a rather interesting sculpture in Buffalo, Wyoming.
Bet that tail is hard to ‘swish’
Do you recognize this? Hint: It is west of the Mississippi River.
Second hint: Check the category listing