Step-on Guide Service for Organized Bus Tours Only
Time: Approximately 6-8 Hours
Visit Sundance, where the "Kid" got his name after the sheriff put him in jail for horsetheft! In the Crook County Museum, see the actual furnishings from the courtroom where the "Kid's" trial for horse theft was held. Ponder the photograph of the pioneer woman who, after being scalped alive, somehow managed to keep her scalp and have it made into the wig she is wearing in this picture! Have your picture taken on the bench next to the "Sundance Kid" at his statue on the courthouse square! Gaze up at Sundance Mountain where many Plains Indian tribes held their Sun Dance during the summer solstice each year to celebrate the spiritual renewal of their people and their Earth Mother.
Climb to the top of the fire tower at Warren Peak for an unparalleled 360 degree view of the northern Black Hills, northeastern Wyoming, and on a clear day as far as the Big Horns above Sheridan, along with parts of northwestern South Dakota and southeastern Montana. Common sized vehicles can then travel from Warren Peak to Devils Tower via Lytle Creek Road through the Black Hills National Forest where you will encounter the pristine beauty of nature, wildlife, and uncommonly exceptional views of the Tower along the way.
Walk up to the soldiers' graves east of where Custer camped with his group of about 2,000 during their expedition to the Black Hills in July of 1874. The two soldiers died of dysentary during encampment and are still buried there on the hillside, overlooking the site. Across the road you can see the meadow where they camped along Inyan Kara Creek. Custer and some of his officers hiked up nearby Inyan Kara mountain for the immeasurable lookout. He carved his name in a rock which still rests in the same place on top of the mountain.
At the Vore Buffalo Jump, hike down the path into the sinkhole where the Vore Foundation privately funds an ongoing archaeological dig, uncovering layers upon layers of remains and artifacts and history from bison hunts, much of which you can see at the site's visitor center. Plains Tribes used the sinkholes as an ingenuous way to trap the bison during a hunt, especially before they had horses. The bison sustained the people. The people took only what they needed, and they made good use of all they took. The Vore Foundation is in the process of developing a Cultural Center on this site where people can learn about the life of the Plains Indians Tribes native to this region. **Please Note: This site is seasonal. Off-season visitors will only be able to view the site from outside the perimeter fence, and read the historical marker.
The old Aladdin General Store has been open for over 115 years in the same old two story building! Sit on the front porch and have a soda pop while you take in the character and charm of the tiny town of Aladdin (population 15), and the beauty of the Black Hills beyond! Browse through endless and wonderful local antiques, unique items of clothing, jewelry and accessories, and souvenirs...or have a good old fashioned home cooked meal next door at Cindy's Cafe!
Just down the road east you can walk thru the history of the old Aladdin Coal Tipple. It was constructed as part of the Aladdin coal mining operations. In 1898, an 18-mile-long short line known as the Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad was built to connect coal mines near Aladdin with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad main line at Belle Fourche, South Dakota. The railroad linked the coal mines at Aladdin with the gold smelters at Lead and Deadwood. Part of the old wood structure still stands.
After you enter the gate to Devils Tower National Monument, you will travel through what is called "Prairie Dog Town," where you will see hundreds of tiny, cute, cuddly (well, probably not actually cuddly) prairie dogs hamming it up for the tourists stopped to capture the moment! Please do not feed or try to touch the prairie dogs!
The Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture near the Devils Tower picnic grounds, honors the American Indian people as a gesture of world peace by Japanese sculptor Junkyu Muto. The sculpture is designed to help raise visitor awareness of the importance of the tower to many of the Plains Indian tribes, and is the third of seven works planned for donation by the sculptor to be placed in strategic locations around the world. The first two were placed at Vatican City in Rome, and Bodhi, India. The sculpture represents the first puff of smoke from the calumet as it is passed among the circle of elders; and when you sit on the stone bench in front of it, the Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture perfectly frames the Tower in the background. It is a great tribute to the many Plains Tribes and their strong spiritual connections to the monument, which was theirs long before it was known to others.
Spend an hour hiking around the base of "Mato Tipila," better known as Devils Tower, majestically rising nearly 1300 feet from its base. The ancient volcanic monolith was inadvetently given the name "Devils Tower" in 1875 when Colonel Richard Dodge misinterpreted the native languages of several of the Plains Tribes' names for the Tower. "Mato Tipila" is its Lakota name. Those same tribes still today hold a strong spiritual connection to this sacred place. At the visitor center there you can weigh geological nonsense against the American Indian legends which tell the true story of how the Tower came to be! The brightly colored pieces of cloth you may see tied in trees along the Tower walk or in other wooded areas of the monument grounds are referred to as prayer cloths, prayer bundles, prayer ribbons, prayer ties, and prayer flags. They are physical and symbolic representations of prayers placed here by American Indian people as part of their religious traditions and ceremonies. Please do not touch, take, disturb, or photograph the prayer cloths.
Along the way you may see deer, antelope, or elk grazing in fields dotted with colorful patches of wildflowers and experience amazing views and exceptional photo ops! The old barns and log cabins and other structures you see standing worn and weathered in the middle of a distant field are actual remnants of original homesteads built by the people who settled this country just over 150 years ago. The history here is rich, and so recent you can almost reach back and touch it!
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Tours can be tailored to fit your interests and time. Reservations are recommended. Advance deposit required.
For more information please e-mail Katy at firstname.lastname@example.org.