Look off into the distance on your next visit to Crook County, Wyoming, and you might catch the breathtaking historical column that is Devils Tower standing stark against the skyline.

Rising to 867 feet tall, this unique igneous rock formation (also known as Bear Lodge)  is more than just a natural wonder — it is a spiritual sanctuary, a famous rock climbing destination and an excellent place for families to come and enjoy their time in nature. If you’re looking for things to do with kids at Devils Tower, this guide will help make the trip one your family will never forget.

Why Devils Tower Is a Must-Visit for Families

Why is Devils Tower an unmissable stop on your next family travel itinerary? An up-close-and-personal history lesson, the Tower was the first ever national monument, given the special classification by President Roosevelt in 1906. It also holds a special significance for Indigenous people, as it has been a popular spot for prayer and reverence for more than 12 local tribes through generations.

And while spending time in the wild Western outdoors is a great way to unplug from our digital lives and reconnect, from wildlife viewing to hikes for all skill levels, the kiddos will never be bored. If you’re coming from the Badlands of South Dakota, you will find Devils Tower a beautiful complement to your outdoor adventure that is not too far away.

Two kids leap in the air, joyfully jumping on an adventure at Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

7 Tips for Families at Devils Tower

From its legendary mystique to its jaw-dropping setting to the animal friends that call the area home, there are so many family-friendly things to do and see at Devils Tower. These 7 tips will help you make the most out of every minute.

1. Tell Your Kids the Legend of Devils Tower

A sunset blazes in the sky over the field atop Devils Tower National Monument.

Whether you’re taking a long road trip to Devils Tower or standing at its base staring up at its sheer power, make sure to find a moment to share the legend of the Tower with your little ones. While the specific details of the legend may change depending on who you ask, the baseline is usually the same: a human being, usually a child, is out playing in the wilderness and is spotted by a giant, hungry bear.

While running away from the bear, they seek out the highest point they can find and wind up on a rock that springs up to keep them out of harm’s way. The bear can’t reach the children, leaving its claw marks on the side of the stone but ultimately being driven away by divine protection.

This legend has been passed down through tribes for decades and has made Devils Tower a sacred place for meditation, prayer, fasting and remembrance. Many Indigenous tribes believe it is a place to receive higher wisdom. Prayer bundles and colorful clothes left in tree branches adorn the Tower’s base and should not be touched. Ensure your little ones know to be good stewards at Devils Tower, always treating the holy site with respect. 

2. Check out the Visitors Center

For real-time updates on events and things to do with kids at Devils Tower, make sure to make a pit stop at the Visitors Center. Not only will you find the most up-to-date schedules for tours and events taking place at the monument, you can also stop and chat with local experts who make it their mission to maintain the natural beauty of the area. Feel free to bring the little ones in to ask questions, and maybe they’ll hear a story or two that they can take home with them.

3. Stay the Night & Go Camping for Kids

Devils Tower experts and frequent travelers recommend that families visiting the area stay at least one night to add time to see the sights and take in the Tower’s spectacular views after dark. If you’re driving up a long way, you may end up feeling a little road-weary, so take the opportunity to go camping under the stars. The closest campsites will be in the Belle Fourche River Campground, but there are plenty of places to camp, from Keyhole State Park to as far out as the Black Hills National Forest. Be sure to book a reservation so your spot awaits you when you arrive.

An RV camps outside before the green landscape leading up to Devils Tower National Monument.

4. Go Stargazing at Night

Speaking of camping out under the stars, this area is world-famous for its views of sparkling sky spectacles, and that alone is one of the most fun family things to do in Devils Tower. Once you’re tucked away in your camp for the evening, turn your attention upward for an open-sky view of the constellations to keep the kiddos entertained and engaged.

Pro tip: Did you know Devils Tower has its own constellation? Keep your eyes open, and you might spot it the next time you’re there.

A starry night sky twinkles above the trees at Devils Tower National Monument.

5. Go Hike Kid-Friendly Trails

Speaking of camping out under the stars, this area is world-famous for its views of sparkling sky spectacles, and that alone is one of the most fun family things to do in Devils Tower. A mostly level 1.3-mile paved loop makes the Tower Trail a great place to start for hikers of all ages, and its closeness to the Visitors Center makes it a popular and convenient option. If your kids are older and want a little challenge, check out the Joyner Ridge Trail and the Red Beds Trail.

Devils Tower is a premiere destination for outdoor adventurers looking to scale its summit. If the adrenaline rush of rock climbing calls to your crew, why not watch experienced climbers do what they do best? Local climbing guides take people up the Tower all through the warm weather months, and watching their technique is a fun activity for kids that may spark an interest of their own.

Pro tip: During the month of June, no rock climbing is permitted at Devils Tower due to its cultural significance and ceremonies often held there during that time, so make sure to plan accordingly if you want to catch the climbers.  

A happy family goes running on a hike as the sun streams through the Tower Trail by Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

6. Take Your Kids to Prairie Dog Town

What’s one of the top things to do at Devils Tower for kids? Visiting furry friends in their natural habitat, of course. That is exactly what will bring you down to Prairie Dog Town — 600 prairie dogs who have taken up residence in this grassy 40-acre space. They are known to entertain visitors of all ages with their silly antics. If you’re taking a hike around the Tower, follow the South Side/Valley View Trail straight to town, or feel free to watch these curious critters from your car at the roadside. You may even catch a glimpse of other area residents, such as deer and foxes.

Pro tip: Prairie dogs are adorable, but they are wild animals. Please maintain a safe distance from them and do not try to pet them, pick them up or feed them.

7. Attend a Ranger Program

What’s one of the top things to do at Devils Tower for kids? Visiting furry friends in their natural habitat, of course. The National Park Service’s Ranger Programs are a great way to dive deep into the history of the area, as well as learn about what it takes to manage and maintain this incredible outdoor space from the people who do it every day. These programs typically occur on weekends (outside of holiday weekends), and the topics vary throughout the year, so check their online events calendar while planning your trip to make sure you don’t miss the one that interests you and your kids the most.  

FAQ: Things You Should Know for Devils Tower

When you visit Devils Tower, the most important thing to know is to be respectful to the land, the people and the sacred traditions that make this destination so unique.

Is there shopping and dining near Devils Tower?

There are two places to shop and dine near Devils Tower: the Devils Tower Trading Post and the Devils Tower Campground and Cafe. Both have on-site shops for souvenirs, snacks and other essentials, plus hot meals and dessert treats for hungry Tower visitors.

What are some family travel tips for Devils Tower?

Some family travel tips for visiting Devils Tower include planning ahead for tours, camping and other activities that require a specific use of space for a set time. Additionally, always practice good safety measures when you’re outdoors: drink plenty of water, avoid getting too close to wildlife and be aware of your surroundings.

When is the best time to visit Devils Tower with kids?

The best time to visit Devils Tower with kids is from spring to fall in the warm weather months.

Can kids climb Devils Tower?

A rock climber wearing a red backpack reaches his hand above as he climbs Devils Tower.

Small children cannot climb Devils Tower, and older children must be experienced climbers and pre-registered to do so before your visit. There are, however, plenty of large rocks and boulders around the base of the tower that children can play on.

How much time is needed at Devils Tower with kids?

For families with kids, a minimum of one overnight stay at Devils Tower is recommended. However, the timing is flexible depending on the sites and activities your children want to participate in.

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