Campground Review: Devils Tower KOA
In eastern Wyoming, a geological wonder known as the Devils Tower National Monument rises over the rolling western landscape. It sits far enough off the interstate that it’s not a quick side trip to check it out, making an overnight stay a better option. Luckily, the Devils Tower KOA is located just outside of the park’s entrance. Our family greatly enjoyed our stay while we visited the Devils Tower.
The coolest thing about the campsites at the Devils Tower KOA is that some offer a direct view of the tower. This.is.awesome! You can’t get views like this just anywhere. There was something kind of magical about looking out and seeing this massive structure stretching skyward. It truly appeared to change as the light lit it from different angles.
Of course, not all of the campsites have this view. Check out a park map here. Our spot was located in an area of the park with back-in sites numbered 1-9. The other prime location would be spots 65-70. These put you on the front rows closest to the tower. They also had nice large shade trees along this row. This area of Wyoming was quite warm during our visit, so the shade was greatly appreciated.
Since we were in an end spot, we had no other campers in front of us, which was great. I read other reviews that complained about the sites being tight. These are private park (KOA style) sites, not large, beautiful sites. This would not be a park I’d want to spend a week in, but its location under the Devils Tower is truly what it’s all about.
The Devils Tower can be see throughout the park, so I think most of the sites have a view. Sites have a variety of hookups. If you want the best views and specific hookups, I highly recommend calling the park to ensure you get a spot that checks all of your boxes.
Tent camping and “kamping kabins” are also available. The tent sites are in a nice large field with a great view of the tower. In fact, one night a photography club was setting up lots of cameras with huge lenses. The cabins are also nicely spaced in a scenic area.
You might be aware that the Devils Tower features prominently in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In fact, the KOA location was used in the filming in 1976. One of the coolest activities at the park is the nightly showing of Close Encounters. Every night during the summer, you can gather with other campers to watch the free showing in the shadow of the tower. How cool is that?
We had actually purchased the movie to watch before our trip. Despite this, we decided to join the fun and headed over to catch part of the film. It was a fun, unique adventure!
Another adventure you can have at the Devils Tower KOA is a good old-fashioned hayride. We didn’t get a chance to try this out, but I can verify that the land surrounding the park is beautiful. The hayride takes you out into ranch lands that have been in the same family’s hands since 1851.
Whether you enjoy looking for wildlife or taking a photowalk, this is a lovely area to explore. The Belle Fourche River runs through the park and has carved colorful ridges in the surrounding landscape. My older son captured this nifty shot:
The best benefit of staying in this KOA is the close access to the park. As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband and older son returned to the park after dark to experiment with night photography. Being right there was a great benefit.
One of the coolest amenities at the Devils Tower KOA is the pool with a scenic view of the tower overhead. Seriously, where else can you find this? After a long day of hiking and exploring the park, it was great to come back and relax at the pool.
Our kids also enjoyed the playground. Merry-go-rounds are a rare find. I love that the the teen/tween children will still give one a whirl.
Campfires are not allowed at individual campsites; however, lovely group fire pits are offered. This looked like a nice place to gather, especially if you are camping with other friends.
One thing I must mention here is that the bathrooms were not my favorite. The showers were individual rooms, which could be nice, but there were quite a few bugs seeking refuge in them, which gave me the heebie jeebies. Since they were in the process of remodeling some of the shower houses, the remaining ones were a little overused and not very clean. A little extra maintenance and cleaning would go a long way. Hopefully, once the remodeling is complete, this situation will improve.
The internet at our campsite in the KOA wasn’t terrific. However, we discovered that the gift shop across the street had super fast wifi. I had some homework to do one afternoon, so we hung out on the massive porch of the Devils Tower Trading Post enjoying some speedy internet and sweet ice cream.
They also sell a lot of fun gifts at the Trading Post, including some authentic Close Encounters trading cards from the 1980s.
If you visit, look for horses in the field surrounding the Trading Post. We saw these beauties while we were there:
The KOA also has a gift shop with ice cream. There’s a decent camp store and small restaurant that serves a handful of foods.
Other than these two gift shops, you will not find much around the Devils Tower KOA. No grocery stores, no chain restaurants. The closest big town is over 40 minutes away in Sundance, which was further than we wanted to drive.
One afternoon, we decided to check out the nearby town of Hulett and discovered it has a classic Western vibe. You’ll find antique shops, local restaurants, and even a coffee shop here. You’ll also find the closest well-stocked grocery store here, as well. We found some meal fixins and returned to our KOA.
The drive to and from Hulett takes you through some beautiful backcountry and offers more views of that infamous tower.
This park is all about location, location, location. After debating whether or not to go to the Devils Tower, we ended up being really glad we did. We stayed two nights in this KOA, which gave us ample time for exploring the Devils Tower. You could probably just spend a night and see it all, depending on how quickly you can arrive and how late you can leave the next day. For us, we had to hop up early on our final day to make our trek through the Bighorn Mountains on our way to Cody, Wyoming.
Just the Facts
Name & Website: Devils Tower KOA
Location: Just outside the gates of Devils Tower National Monument
Description: Private park with sites with amazing views
Rates: Around $50-60
Sites: A mix of FHU and WE sites, plus tent sites and cabins
Bathhouse: Could use more cleaning
Amenities/Activities: Playground, pool, hayride, nightly showing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, walking area near Belle Fourche River
Bottom line: The views and access to the park make up for the small sites and less-than-desirable restrooms.
You can listen to a full review on this episode of Campground of the Week:
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