President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906. When the proclamation establishing Devils Tower was published, the apostrophe was unintentionally dropped from "Devil's" and this clerical error was never corrected.
The rocks and boulders around the base of the tower are actually broken pieces of columns that have fallen from the sides. Weather is always prying at the cracks. Water collects in the crevices and as the temperature changes, the water freezer and thaws, jimmying the cracks.
As mentioned earlier, the tower is held sacred by many American Indians. Indian ceremonies are conducted year round at the tower, often using traditional prayer clothes.
Devils Tower is comprised of symmetrical columns, which are the tallest -- some are 600 feet -- and widest -- 10-20 feet -- in the world. Along the trail, columns lie toppled among the pine trees.
After a column falls to the ground, a larger surface area is exposed to the elements. As time passes, the angles and corners become weathered and rounded. According to historical information on file, no large rocks or columns have fallen since the park was established in 1906. Some believe this is a clue to how long the tower will stand.
The tower boasts a colorful climbing history. In 1893, two local ranchers first climbed the tower using a wooden stake ladder. It is in the center of this pic but very difficult to see, but it's been there -- since 1893.
The National Park Services considers climbing to be an acceptable recreational use, but also recognizes the tower as a sacred site to many American Indians. Out of respect for traditional cultural practices, a voluntary climbing closure is in effect in June every year and visitors are asked to refrain from climbing the tower during this time.