Gillette may look unassuming and rural from a distance, but this is only from a distance. Gillette, Wyoming calls itself the "Energy Capital of the Nation." While this may be exaggeration, it's not much of an exaggeration. Situated in an area rich in coal, oil and methane gas, Gillette is valuable indeed - and not only for its energy resources. Gillette serves as a gateway to both Devil's Tower National Monument, that hauntingly unique rock formation that was the most remarkable part of the scenery of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the darkly forested Black Hills.
But Gillette never strays from its roots. The massive entertainment and convention center, CAM-PLEX, has a fascinating collection of energy equipment on its grounds, and Wyodak Power Plant is open for tours. Gillette's past as a railway town is preserved with the Rockpile Museum and you can take free coal mine tours throughout the summer. And yet, Gillette has a certain natural atmosphere that all the industry in the world can still easily coincide with. The parks are lovely and the hills are always close by.
Gillette is 44 miles west of Devil's Tower National Monument.