Hike To White Butte! North Dakota’s Highest Point

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The old farm house you pass on the way to White Butte
North Dakota High Point, White Butte

Standing at only 3, 506 feet on a good day, White Butte in Amidon, North Dakota, isn’t going to be the greatest peak you ever conquer, but it will definitely be a memorable one. Located in the Southwest corner of the Badlands of North Dakota, White Butte is simply the highest grassy hill in the plains of the Little Missouri National Grasslands. This trail is still very remote, and offers amazing views.  The trail is only 3.5 – 4 miles round trip, depending on how much time you spend at the top. The elevation gain is 400 feet, but it you will cover that in about 1/2 a mile. This hike can be strenuous for about 10 minutes, but overall it is very easy and should only take you about 2 hours. It felt as if I was on stage starring in Little House on the Prairie, with the wind racing over the tall grasses as a windmill turned over a old wooden farm house with the shutters slamming open and closed. The trail and peak are on private land, but the family allows hikers to access the peak and only asks for a 5 dollar donation. You can place the donation in the mailbox at the end of the families driveway near the trailhead. All they ask is that help maintain the trail by picking up any trash you find, and close any gates you open along your trip. The trailhead is a rough dirt road that follows an old barb wired fence parallel to the home and perpendicular to White Butte Peak. Use the small gate in the barb wire fence at the base of White Butte to access the foot traffic trail straight up to the peak. The trail cuts through a grove of trees, then veers right towards the peak. The top offers unobstructed views of the surrounding Little Missouri Grasslands. The beginning of the hike was slightly overcast, but by the time I started to hike down it looked like I was going to be apart of the Twister Sequel. A storm quickly rolled in and gave me some pretty amazing photo opportunities.

The road and barb wire fence with the White Butte peak in left corner.

 

The small gate just before the trail gets steep.

Directions From the South:

Take US 85 North through the town of Amidon. After passing Main St. drive for 1.9 miles past mile marker 43, and turn right on 140 Ave SW. Continue 4.9 miles on this dirt road passing Badlands Auto Body and Glass at about 2 miles. Turn right on the Unnamed dirt road after 4.9 miles, and continue for 1 mile to the families driveway. Park along the road and follow the fence and dirt road North towards the peak. The dirt road will pass an old picturesque farm house on your right.

View from the to of White Butte

Directions From the North:

Take US 85 South passing White Lake National Refugee on your left. After mile marker 44 you will turn left onto 140 Ave SW. Continue 4.9 miles on this dirt road passing Badlands Auto Body and Glass at about 2 miles. Turn right on the Unnamed dirt road after 4.9 miles, and continue for 1 mile to the families driveway. Park along the road and follow the fence and dirt road North towards the peak. The dirt road will pass an old picturesque farm house on your right.

View near the top of White Butte

 

What to Bring

– Camera

– Water

– Rain Coat

– Good Shoes

Nearby Points of Interest

– Theodore Roosevelt National Park, 1 hour North in Medora, North Dakota

– Center of the Nation, 3 hours South in Belle Fourche, South Dakota

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