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Aug 12, 2022

Hiking Red Beds Trail at Devils Tower National Monument

When visiting the South Dakota Black Hills you don't want to miss also visiting the Devil's Tower National Monument in North Eastern Wyoming. It's a less than 2 hour drive from Custer or you can drive the beautiful Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway which will take about an hour longer as it's a scenic road with some waterfalls, the historic town of Deadwood and more to see along this way.

On our last trip we took the Scenic Byway to Devil's Tower and visited all the sights/Deadwood along the way, this time I wanted to arrive at Devils Tower sooner because I wanted to hike Red Beds Trail  so instead we took the quickest route to get there but on the way back we took the Scenic Byway.

We found Red Beds trail head just uphill from the visitor's center. It just happened that we took the trail counter clockwise which I afterwards read is also the recommended way and I was so glad that we went this way!

The hike starts with a walk through a beautiful but narrow meadow trail which did scare me quite a bit as I am terrified of rattlesnakes and they are very common here. There were areas where the grass reached my hips or even higher and the trail was so narrow at times! But we were lucky once again and didn't come across a rattle snake although you could here them occasionally.

Next to the trail is this beautiful view of the valley down below and you can see Belle Fourche river.

I'm wearing one of my Athleta hiking shorts again (the Dipper Style) which is now discontinued, but you can find selected sizes on Poshmark otherwise the newer style (the Trekkie) is available from Athleta. (They do come in Bermuda lengths too if that is your preference as did the discontinued Dipper style - find those on Poshmark). 

Below is a good view of what the trail looked like. In several parts it was more narrow than this and sometimes the grass was a high as my hips. But those weren't the parts where I would stop for photos. 

This view is behind you if you go counter clockwise  so if you take the trail clockwise it will be just as beautiful but will be much more exhausting as there is barely any shade in this part of the trail.

We saw several of these beautiful caterpillars along the way. They were about 4 inches long. 

The beautiful views never stopped! There was a cave up here but I was too afraid of snakes to climb up there to investigate. 


This might be my favorite photo from this trail!

Here we were approaching the red rocks after which the trail is named. I think this is about halfway around. 

Not having a lot of shade was exhausting!! It was a hot July day but at least it wasn't humid! Definitely start this trail as early as possible and bring plenty of water! 

I was SO happy when we finally approached this forested area! I needed some shade badly and I was running low on water! We all could have used an extra bottle of water!

Would you believe even though we forgot to apply bug spray none of us got bitten by any bugs!! Maybe they just weren't around at this time of the day! 

A legend...

Even though this trail was only about a quarter of Black Elk Peak Loop trail I felt just as exhausted. But it was so worth it and I highly recommend! Maybe you can choose a day when it isn't this hot! But truly a must hike trail when visiting Devil's Tower.


Did you know, Devils Tower was the very first National Monument of the United States? Devil's Tower National Monument is part of the National Park system so you can use the "America the Beautiful" pass (which is free for US military and veterans). 

It was early afternoon when we drove away from Devils Tower so decided to take the the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway back to Custer. 

Along the way we took the short trail to Roughlock Falls.

My daughter came across this snake along this trail. It was probably a Bull snake. Glad I didn't see it in real life as I had already passed this area and was gone when we walked back.

This cute squirrel was about the size of a chipmunk!

The Falls are below. This photo doesn't do it justice. It's hard to see the tall waterfall coming down in the back and then spreading out over the rocks. I love the moss covered rocks.

On the way back to the parking spot I came across this spider web and thought it was absolutely beautiful. (No I am not a fan of spiders!!) 

We also stopped in the historic town of Deadwood but didn't take many picture there and I really enjoy nature so much more so we only stopped for a short visit. (We spent a bit more time here on our first visit to this area). 

If you missed my other posts about our trip out west and would like to see them, you can read those posts  HERE HERE and HERE. They are all photo heavy with nature pictures fo various hikes. If you do want to plan a visit to the Black Hills, you might want to skip a visit during the Sturgis Motorcycle rally which takes place each year in the beginning of August for 10 days (think it starts the first Friday in August) and this area will be extremely busy during that time!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my travel pictures and maybe I inspired you to visit this area too if you haven't already!

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Glennis F said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos

Jennifer said...

This looks like a beautiful hike!

Curated by Jennifer

Joanne said...

That is one area on my list that we did not make it to on our Black Hills vacation but it looks so pretty!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics Ellie and that caterpillar is amazing, not too keen on the snake though, we do get afew here inSpain, see them rarely though on my walks with the dog, xx

kiwimeskreations said...

Wonderful photos and an amazing hike that must have been - that caterpillar is a stunner, don't know that I would like to meet a snake though - I did once when I visited Australia, and that was enough!

Jayne said...

What a stunning place to explore and your photos are beautiful.
I really don't do snakes so I would be absolutely terrified. We have adders here in the UK, but thankfully I've never encountered one! šŸ˜¬ #MMBC

Kim Carberry said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic trip and what a great hike. The views are stunning.

Astrid said...

This sounds like such a wonderful experience! I'm scared of snakes too, particularly venomous ones. That being said, they fascinate me at the same time, so I love that your daughter saw a Bull snake.

Jim said...

Great shots.

Rajani Rehana said...

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jeremy@thirstydaddy said...

Looks awesome. Thanks for sharing

Veronica Lee said...

Looks like an amazing hike, Ellibelle.
I enjoyed your beautiful photos.
Have a great weekend!

Lovely said...

This sounds cool. The view from the top is beautiful.

stylefrontier said...

this hiking trail is beautiful !
thank you for sharing the wonderful trip with us
wishing you a lovely weekend

Amy Johnson said...

Oh, you look so hot in these photos! I would love to go back to Devil's Tower and hike this trail.

Carol Benton said...

Beautiful scenery! It looks like a good hike, although a bit hot and dry. I'm glad you found some shade along the way. Great photos!

mireille said...

Thanks for sharing! We've never been to the Dakotas or that part of the country but should put it on our bucket list. Some beautiful scenery!