Why did they name it after the Devil?

This summer we visited the Devils Tower National Monument in northeastern Wyoming. I did a small write up of the Devils Tower National Monument and put it on the website as a place of interest. After doing the article, I got to thinking about the different places where we have been that have the Devil in their names. It would be interesting to know if there is any common theme that surrounds the naming of places or geological formations with the Devil as part of the name. There is probably no connections but inquiring minds….well you know what I mean?

One of the first places that I encountered with the Devil in the name is The Devil’s Sink Hole in Rocksprings, Texas. I can kind of see how a big dark hole in the ground could be named with Devil in it but I don’t know the actual origin of the name. Then we have visited the Devil’s Stair Steps just out of LaVeta, Colorado. It is located on Highway 12 which is known as the Highway of Legends. There is a legend that goes with the naming of these dike wall formations. Our next encounter with a geological formation with the Devil in it’s name is the Devil’s Backbone Open Space just off Highway 34 west of Loveland, Colorado. This is another set of dike wall rock formations that might resemble the backbone of a very large creature, or maybe the Devil.

With the magic of the Internet I thought it would be interesting to see how many other places in the country might have the Devil in their names. Just type in the word Devil and a plethora of places emerge. Then if you type in devil with another descriptive word, many more places come up. Well that was too much for my brain! It would be difficult to dechpir if there is any common theme, and I doubt that there is. Legends and lore usually play the biggest role in a place or object being given a name.

The byproduct of this thought process has led me to find a few interesting places, with the Devil in it, that I might be able to visit. One is located only 45 miles from The Devil’s Sinkhole. It is the Devils River State Natural Area just north of Del Rio, Texas. Then there is the Devils Postpile National Monument close to Mammoth, California. There are many more places so I’ll have to take them as I can.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower National Monument


Devils Backbone

Devils Backbone Open Space



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