Four States in Three Days: This Summer’s Road Trip


So we live in Northern Colorado and decided due to our prime location of being near the center of the US, that we’d explore some states outside of Colorado and see things we’d probably never see before had we not moved here. Sometimes road trips are simply too far with kids…and I’m not one to spend a couple thousand dollars on air travel just to get my family across the United States. So things have to be within a day or two away from home, at least for now because flying is expensive. 

Anyway, we hit the road about a half hour from the border of Wyoming. In fact, we are so close to the border of Wyoming that we often listen to Wyoming radio stations. And to put this into perspective, we can get to Cheyenne faster than we can get to Denver. 

Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming has a smaller population than Flagstaff Arizona, where I lived for 12 plus years and what I considered a small town. In 2016 Cheyenne’s population was just 64,019 while Flagstaff’s population is 71,459. Outside of Cheyenne, the other towns in Wyoming just get smaller. Wyoming truly is a place with wide open spaces and green pastures with lots of livestock. It’s a place where real cowboys still exist! 

So as we were driving through the state of Wyoming up to the north-east corner of the state through some hilly pastures Devils Tower is something you really can’t miss. 

Now you might want to say “Devil’s Tower” with an apostrophe S as if the devil owns the tower. But in everything written I’ve seen about this national monument, Devils is plural not possessive. Devils Tower was America’s first national monument! I mean with 117 national monuments, that’s a pretty big achievement for a place that only got its fame and glory from Steven Spielberg’s movie, “Close Encounters”. In fact it got so much fame and glory after the movie’s release, they had to build a trading post just so tourists could collect touristy things from both the movie and landmark. Proceeds from the movie actually funded the trading post! But Devils Tower holds more meaning than a simple movie cameo.

The Lakota Indians hold this landmark as sacred. They believe a giant bear made the claw marks in this natural tower and used this location for many spiritual gatherings. The Lakota Indians refer to this place as Bear Lodge, not Devils Tower as we know it. The Cheyenne, Sioux, and Shoshone tribes also hold this place to be sacred and share many of the same beliefs and stories about its sacredness. 

Devils Tower, peeking through the woods.

On our one mile trek around this beautiful landmark, we saw why so many see it as special. Geologists studied Devils Tower in the late 19th century and came to the conclusion that it was formed by an igneous intrusion. Meaning that Devils Tower is a volcanic plug or that it is the neck of an extinct volcano.

The boys after they got their Junior Ranger badges.

This is where the boys learned about becoming Junior Rangers. They answered questions and learned about forest safety and about some of the history behind Devils Tower and then took their Junior Ranger oath and received a badge. It was so cute!

I think the neat part about Devils Tower is how many different perspectives you can find of the same location. When the sunlight hits Devils Tower at the right time, its illumination can seem unreal. 

We spent a good portion of time walking around the tower and learning about it at the ranger station, but we had more adventuring to do, so we said goodbye and decided to head 30 minutes north up into Montana just to say we went there!

Bye Devils Tower!

Yes, we actually drove about 20 minutes out of our way just to get these pictures: 

And I do believe the sky goes on and on forever in Montana. 

But about six miles later, we were in South Dakota! So there ya go! 😉 

…and yes I changed my shirt because that first outfit made me look fat. 😉

So as we drive into South Dakota we start winding through the black hills and let me tell you. It was beautiful. There was so much green forest. It was simply amazing, but we had to drive through about an hour of rain to get to our lodge. Now just for the purpose of making this post smaller and easier to read, I will be breaking it up into part 2! We’ll share our trip through the Black Hills from this point a little later. Can you guess where we might have gone? 

Here’s our YouTube Video of our trip: 

What have you done this summer? 

About Heather Jones

I'm just a wife and mom of two boys trying to find her place in this world. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, and RV camping with my family.

Heartfully Heather


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Heather Jones

I'm just a wife and mom of two boys trying to find her place in this world. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, and RV camping with my family.

17 thoughts on “Four States in Three Days: This Summer’s Road Trip

  1. That is one epic road trip! I’ve always been a big fan of road tripping. It’s the ultimate “cram” travel trip. You get so much explored in so little time.

  2. This looks like SUCH a fun trip! I miss road tripping… We didn’t get to go this year because I”m too stressed about losing my job in a few months, but next year hopefully!

  3. What a great road trip!!! I did the road trip from Toronto to South Dakota 20 years ago for my BIL wedding, but we were in too much of a rush to see the sites!!! I’d love to do it again!

  4. We drove out to Devils Tower, Yellowstone & the Tetons last year and it was a blast! Believe it or not Devil’s Tower was #1 on my husband’s bucketlist!

  5. So much fun! This is the first summer we haven’t done any big road trips. We are heading up north in November though and I can’t wait to hit the road now that I saw these pics!

  6. What FUN! I agree travel is so expensive and even more so with the whole family! Road trips can be tiresome as well but so worth it! I would prefer to see the countryside anyway! I love that you got out and saw some amazing places! Great states to visit! I am in Kansas and would LOVE to come your way!

  7. That is a beautiful trip! I would love to take the same one sometime. We visited Colorado last year and it was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen as well as Wyoming, we need to get back out there!

  8. Those photos are so beautiful. That looks like a great trip. I am planning one for next year over winter. My family is excited. We’ve never had a real vacation before.

  9. I love taking road trips! We took a road trip from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Walt Disney World last year. It saved us so much money!! We created a lot of great memories too!

  10. What a wonderful trip – I’ve always wanted to visit Montana and Wyoming, and I think if I ever get there, I will want to move, too! Junior Rangers is a great idea!

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