Although it was always well known to locals, when Devils Tower was featured in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” it became is one of the most popular tourist spots in Wyoming. The forbidding landscape that surrounds the mountain, as well as its national monument status, has prevented the area from being populated with restaurants and souvenir stores, but many of the surrounding small towns capitalize on the tourist trade. Visitors often seek places to eat in nearby Hulett and Sundance.
Devils Tower is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wyoming.
Fort Devils Tower
A half mile west of the entrance to Devils Tower Monument is Fort Devils Tower (no website; 601 Highway 24; 307-467-5655), a rambling campground with a supper club that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfasts are hearty; platters include eggs, flapjacks, biscuits and all manner of breakfast meats. Buffalo burgers (always order buffalo at least medium rare) are a favorite for lunch, as are the barbecued ribs. Dinner time brings steakhouse fare with some interesting Cajun dishes thrown in.
The Ponderosa Cafe in Hulett
The Ponderosa Cafe (theponderosa.com) is definitely not related to the restaurant chain of the same name. Headed up by New Jersey chef and owner Dean Coronato, the Ponderosa offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a family-friendly Western atmosphere. The dinner menu includes hefty steaks, homemade chicken pot pie and chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes; the bar offers 100 different beers. Dean also owns the neighboring R Deli, which attracts a regular crowd for the “Jersey Stuffed Cowboy Club” and a deli case and fountain sodas.
Devils Tower View
Devils Tower View campground (devilstowerview.com) is three miles from Devils Tower Monument and offers tent camping, RV sites and a restaurant that is open from breakfast into late dinner hours. It’s just a simple dining room but the food is typical Wyoming fare: buffalo burgers, Indian tacos, fried chicken, chicken-fried steak and steak and eggs. The restaurant is open year round and outdoor gazebo dining is available during the warmer months.
Higbees in Sundance
Higbees (no website; 101 N. Third St., Sundance; 307-283-2165) is an unassuming little cafe in the town of Sundance — known as the gateway to Devils Tower — that prides itself on serving good homemade food at reasonable prices. For dinner, try the pot roast with a glass of red wine. A freshly made soup is served every day and the fruit and cream pies draw locals on a daily basis. Breakfast is served from open to close. Before you leave, be sure to check out the statue of the Sundance Kid in the middle of town.
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