“A nice 1.5-mile loop with stellar views of the tower and potential wildlife viewing.
— Brian Smith
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Access this short mile and a half loop by turning left off of the park's main road before arriving at the visitor center. Drive a very short distance on the unpaved access road and look for the trailhead on your right.
This is a loop trail and can thus be done in either direction. Either way, the low point of the loop is at the end opposite to the trailhead, so you'll generally be running downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back.
If you choose to run clockwise, you'll begin with a short ascent up and over a knoll. Continuing on, you'll traverse the ridge at the edge of the forest before descending steeply to a junction with the Joyner Ridge - Red Beds Connector
. From the ridge, the views of Devils Tower
to the south are great.
If you're looking to extend your outing, consider following the connector to the southeast and link up with the Red Beds Trail
. Otherwise, stay right at this junction and follow the Joyner Ridge Trail back towards the trailhead. You'll traverse beautiful forest typical of the Black Hills as you ascend from the drainage. Once you emerge from the forest, a short jaunt across an open prairie leads back to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
This trail is a great place to see wildlife. The ponderosa pine woodlands are inhabited by white and mule deer, porcupines and the burr oak. In the floodplain fields dotted with cottonwoods, prairie dogs, wild turkeys, and rattlesnakes all make their homes. Use caution while running on any trail through the prairie - rattlesnakes are no joke!
These vibrant ecosystems sustain entire communities of flora and fauna that enrich your experience at Devils Tower