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Devils Tower

Listed under Film Locations in Mountain States, United States.

  • Photo of Devils Tower
  • Photo of Devils Tower
  • Photo of Devils Tower
  • Photo of Devils Tower
  • Photo of Devils Tower
Photo of Devils Tower
Photo by mikelyvers
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Brought to international attention by the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Devils Tower has been a sacred place of numerous Indian tribes since prehistoric times. Various legends are told about the origin of the tower. One story, common to the Kiowa, Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne and Sioux tribes, concerns a group of seven Indian girls pursued by a giant bear. One day the seven girls were playing in the forest when a great bear came upon them and gave chase. The girls fled swiftly through the trees but the bear slowly gained on them. Recognizing the hopelessness of their situation, the girls jumped upon a low rock and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Immediately the small rock began to grow upwards, lifting the seven girls higher and higher into the sky. The angry bear jumped up against the sides of the growing tower and left deep claw marks, which may be seen to this day upon the rock walls. The tower continued to soar towards the sky until the girls were lifted to the heavens, where they became the seven stars of the Pleiades.

Known to the Indians as Mateo Tepee or Grizzly Bear Lodge, the tower is actually the remnant of a volcanic extrusion of 60-70 million years ago. Rising 1200 feet, the tower was first seen by non-natives during a geological survey in 1875. The surveyors called the rock Devils Tower after an old Indian name, The Bad God's Tower. It was first climbed, using a long wooden ladder attached to the rock face, on July 4th, 1893. Proclaimed the first US National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the tower is today a popular climbing site and over 20,000 ascents have been made. Jutting magnificently out of the surrounding terrain, the tower was a much venerated vision quest site of the Indians. Its use in this regard has continued to the present time, for both Indians and non-Indians, and many visitors have reported seeing strange light-phenomena and UFO's around the tower's summit.

Photo: Aerial view of Devils Tower

More about Devil's Tower from Sacred Sites.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Other expert and press reviews

“A 'Close Encounters' road trip in the US”

By Richard Green for Times Online First Published October 22, 2009 ... Yes it was the Devil’s Tower that featured in Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as the alien landing pad. It is little wonder that it was c… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on timesonline.co,uk

“Devils Tower”

This iconic natural monument, the core of an ancient volcano, is familiar to sci-fi fans as the location for the climax of the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is a magical place, especially when the light of the setting sun … Read more...

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Devil's Tower National Monument

Devil's Tower National Monument is a natural rock formation that rises 5,112 feet above sea level. This site is a great spot for adventurous mountain climbers as well as those just looking to take pictures of this natural display of nature.

This site is also a place of great meaning to many Native American tribes- attributing the formation of the rock to legends of spirits. Some animals seen here include prairie dogs, deer and others. Theodore Roosevelt named this the first national monument in 1906.

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