Why Is Devils Tower Called Devils Tower?

Have you ever heard of the wondrous formation known as Devil’s Tower? This giant rock formation has been the subject of myths and legends for hundreds of years. People have been captivated by its unique shape, which has been likened to everything from an ancient castle to a great sea stack.

But what lies beneath the surface of this monolith? Why is it called Devil’s Tower?

In this article, we take a closer look at the history and etymology of this incredible natural structure and discover why it is so named. Let’s dive in and uncover the mysteries of Devil’s Tower!

What is Devils Tower?

Devils Tower is a steep, narrow column of exposed rock located in northeastern Wyoming, United States. It is one of America’s most iconic and recognized geological landmarks, and it’s also the first National Monument to be declared by U.

S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 190

The tower stands 867 feet (265 meters) tall at its highest peak and has become world-renowned for its awe-inspiring views and native spiritual significance.

Why is Devils Tower called Devils Tower?

Devils Tower is an English translation of its original native name, Mato Tipila, which translates to Bear’s Lodge. This name originates from the Lakota tribe, who believe the jagged spire is the home of a great bear.

The tower has since accrued many other colloquial names, such as Bear’s Tipi, Bear’s Lodge, Tree Rock, Bear’s House, Bear’s Lair, and Grizzly Bear’s Lair. The name “Devils Tower” was formally given in 1875 by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, who was serving as the first U. S.

Minister to the Great Sioux Nation at the time. In one of his first reports to the War Department, Dodge wrote: >“[I]n starkly visible landscape where I had been journeying, suddenly I detected the curious appearance of a great stone tower rising from the plain and looking out on the valley from the dominating apex of a mountain.

Indians called it in their language ‘Mato Tipila,’ the Mountain of Bears. I decided to call it the ‘Devils Tower. ‘”Colonel Dodge’s fanciful translation was likely inspired by his devoutly religious background, as the name insinuates that the tower was a beacon of temptation sent by the devil. Regardless, it has since been established as the official name of the monument.

Native American Beliefs and Legends

For generations, the local indigenous tribes have embraced Devils Tower as a spiritual stronghold, possessing a divine presence that is said to protect and shelter those who seek supernatural guidance. The Sioux belief states that the tall spire was created when seven sacred female bears sought refuge at the top of this great mountain. They were trying to escape the unwanted advances of two brothers, two great hunters from another tribe, who were in pursuit. The Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka, saw the bear’s plight and transformed the mountain into a gigantic solid rock tower for the bears to hide and take refuge.


Devils Tower stands tall as an iconic symbol of American history and intrigue. It’s an appreciated reminder of the varied cultures and spiritual histories of the many indigenous peoples that have called it home. Despite the varied interpretations of its name and its local legends, Devils Tower remains one of America’s most fascinating landforms. Citations: https://en. m. wikipedia. org/wiki/Devils_Towerhttps://www. nps. gov/deto/learn/historyculture/upload/Native-American-Legends-of-Devils-Tower. pdfhttp://imnaha. org/mato-tipila-devils-tower/

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