Devil's Tower National Monument, Buffalo, and Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
June 27th, 2020
Over the last couple years we have started to make a stronger effort to visit every National Park, Monument, and Memorial near where we are traveling (mostly to get the sweet Junior Ranger Badges). When we traveled through this area in previous years we always skipped the Devil's Tower because we felt like it was too far out of the way and our time always felt limited because we were still part-time traveling. Now that we are "full-timers", we are taking in every opportunity that we can - so we booked a night at the Devil's Tower KOA.
The KOA's location was great - it literally sits right outside the entrance of the National Monument, so access was quick and easy. After dropping off and setting up our rig, we went into the park.
Before getting up to the Tower's main trailhead, the road took us by the Prairie Dog Village. Those critters stand around in groups like old men drinking coffee, and obviously were used to pesky humans like us watching them go about their business.
We got stuck in a mini-traffic jam (due to construction going on at the main parking lot and visitor's station), but because we didn't have anything else going on and our RV park was so close, we made the most of it and eventually got to the parking lot at the top.
We decided to hike the Tower Trail, which is a short 1.3 mile loop around the base of the tower. It was a perfect hike for our group, and halfway around we saw climbers making their way to the top!
The next day (my 35th birthday!) I was able to run from our RV park directly into the National Monument and ran the Joyner Ridge and Red Beds trails.
Bighorn National Forest, Buffalo Wyoming
After The Devil's Tower, we hightailed it over to Buffalo, Wyoming. Previously we had stayed at the KOA, but this time decided to try out the Indian Campground, and we were very happy with this decision as it was a wonderful park with excellent owners that made us feel immediately welcome. The park also has a heated pool, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed.
We tried to get as many hikes as we could in while the weather allowed. The first hike we did this year was the South Clear Creek Campground Trail, which was a short out and back along a roaring and under the pines. The second hike we did was a longer out and back on the Long Lake Trail, which we had done in our last visit through this area.
The next hike was the South Fork Campground to Tie Hack Loop, which started in the same area as our first hike, but went the opposite direction and looped back around to finish on the same creek as the first hike. This was an awesome hike and well worth it! The views halfway through along the lake were fantastic.
Crazy Woman Canyon, Buffalo Wyoming
Our last intended hike was in Crazy Woman Canyon. We hiked up a super steep "trail" for a short while, then came across an enormous rockslide. We attempted to traverse it and made it fairly far, but decided after a while that continuing didn't sound like an amazing time (hauling a baby in a chest carrier doesn't make bouldering the most enjoyable experience). We turned around, drove a bit down the canyon, and stopped along the creek and did some exploring - this was a blast, and the we had a great time!