Legend of Devils Tower
All who have seen the gigantic stump-like formation, known as Devils Tower, rising 1,265 feet above the Belle Fourche River, will understand why it inspired the imagination of the Native Americans. They called it Mateo Tepee, meaning Grizzly Bear Lodge, and had several legends regarding its origin.
According to the Kiowa's, who at one time are reported to have lived in the region, their tribe once camped by a stream where there were many bears. One day, seven little girls were playing at a distance from the village and were chased by some bears. The girls ran toward the village and when the bears were about to catch them, they jumped to a low rock about three feet in height. One of them prayed to the rock, "Rock, take pity on us – Rock, save us." The rock heard them and began to elongate itself upwards, pushing the children higher and higher out of reach of the bears. When the bears jumped at them, they scratched the rock, broke their claws and fell back upon the ground. The rock continued to push the children upward into the sky while the bears jumped at them. The children are still in the sky, seven little stars in a group (the pleiades). According to the legend, the marks of the bears' claws could be seen on the side of the rock.
Devils Tower is located in northeastern Wyoming and was designated as our nation's first National Monument by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. Scientists believe that Devils Tower is the core of a volcano exposed after millions of years of erosion caused by the Belle Fourche River and weather.
The 865-foot tower, featured in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," is a favorite destination for skilled rock climbers from around the globe. Devils Tower is also a favorite family destination. Kids and adults alike can enjoy deer and antelope in their natural habitat and kids of all ages will like the prairie dog town. Miles of walking trails offer ever-changing views of the Tower and flora and fauna that abound at the Tower.
In 1994, the Devils Tower Volksmarch was voted the third most popular by participants. Devils Tower is situated just 30 minutes northwest from Sundance (I-90 Exit 187).