Steptoe Butte State Park

Steptoe Butte State Park in Washington is a breathtaking natural gem that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Palouse countryside.

In the middle of rolling hills blanketed in wheat, stands a quartzite island. It’s made of rock that’s been around 400 million years old, much, much older than the land surrounding it. It’s an archetypal geological formation, yet it was named for an Army Colonel from the 1800s. Now, every other ecological formation of that type is named for him, too.

Despite its small size, the park offers visitors a unique and memorable experience.

The main attraction of the park is the Steptoe Butte, which stands at 3,618 feet tall and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The butte is a popular spot for bird watching and simply taking in the fresh air and breathtaking views. Visitors can drive to the top of the butte and take in the views from its summit.

The drive to Steptoe Butte State Park, which winds through the rolling hills, is worth it alone. The surrounding countryside is beautiful. The drive is a popular activity for visitors, especially during the fall when the hills turn a brilliant golden color.

The butte was named after Colonel Edward Steptoe, a U.S. Army officer who led a group of soldiers into the area in 1858 during the conflict with the local native tribes.

Colonel Steptoe was a controversial figure in Washington’s history, as his actions during the conflict with the native tribes have been widely criticized. Despite this, the butte was named in his honor due to his role in exploring the region.

The Steptoe Butte area was also home to the Palouse tribe, who lived in the region for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. The Palouse people were known for their rich cultural traditions, including pottery making, fishing, and hunting.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the butte became an important hub for agriculture in the region, with farmers using the flat top of the butte as a vantage point to survey their lands.

View from the top of Steptoe Butte State Park

During this time, the butte also became a popular tourist destination, as visitors flocked to the area to take in the stunning views and explore the rich history of the region.

Today, Steptoe Butte is protected as a state park, and its rich history is celebrated by the local community and visitors alike.

The park does not have camping or hiking, and bathrooms are port-potties. As a Washington State Park, a Discover Pass is required. There are pay stations at the summit.

Map of Steptoe Butte State Park, including launch locations for hang gliding and paragliding.

To get to the park, take US-195 North from Colfax. The park entrance is located about 13 miles northeast of Colfax.

Steptoe Butte State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy Washington’s natural beauty. Despite its lack of hiking and camping, the park offers visitors a unique and memorable experience with its breathtaking views, scenic drives, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

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