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Bowman, North Dakota

White Butte

This simple badlands butte is the highest point in North Dakota and may be the only high point to charge admission. 

In the arid Badlands of southwestern North Dakota, White Butte is the highest point in the state at 3,507 feet above sea level, but this peak does reside on private property and visitors are encouraged to call ahead to pay the suggested admission fee. 

White Butte gets its chalky color from the bentonite clay that makes up the butte which was formed by glacial runoff thousands of years ago. As only the 30th tallest state high point, the hike to the top of White Butte is not particularly challenging, including only a one mile trek to the summit from an old farmhouse marking the trail’s start. However, the countryside crawls with prairie rattlesnakes in the summer which can make the trip more dangerous.

Plus, to reach the peak you have to deal with the owners of the land.  

The butte and surrounding lands are owned by Daryle and Mary Dennis, who reportedly request a $10 donation per vehicle from visitors, and also request visitors to call ahead and alert them if you will be making the trek. If they are unavailable, the trip to the top of the butte can simply be undertaken without permission at one’s own risk. Any proceeds that are offered to the family go to maintaining the site itself. 

Know Before You Go

From US Route 85 and Main Street intersection in Amidon, ND, go east 1.9 miles and turn south on a gravel road.Go 4.9 miles and turn west. Go 1 mile and turn south at the Dennis' house. The Dennis' have a parking area near an old farmhouse. Leave your donation in the mailbox here, and hike one mile on the trail to the summit.