Steamboat Butte is long and narrow, with a north-south axis. The east side provides easier access routes. Any attempt to scramble up the west side should be done with great caution, due to the very steep side down to the canyon floor. Usually, most hiking groups that try the west side from the canyon floor eventually re-adjust their route to go around the south end and complete their scramble on the east side.
Getting ThereTo get to Chadron State Park, drive south from the town of Chadron, Nebraska on Highway 385, eight miles south of the junction of Highways 385 and 20. At the park entrance, you will see the office next to a very small lake. If you are planning to camp or rent a cabin, or you need a park permit, you will need to stop there. At the office, you can pick up a free park trails map that shows where Sawmill Shelter is at. Once you arrive at Sawmill Shelter, you will see at the back of the clearing the sign for the Steamboat Loop Trail.
For more on the Steamboat Loop Trail, check out the SummitPost page at this link:
SummitPost: Steamboat Loop Trail
Nebraska Interactive Trails Map
Red TapeAnyone driving into Chadron State Park will need a daily or annual state park permit. There are strict campfire regulations and firearms are not allowed in the park.
For any other questions, please call the park office at: (308) 432-6167.
SafetyEven though this is a state park, it is adjacent to other state land, national forest lands and private property. Wildlife does not recognize park boundaries, including mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and ticks. Please take appropriate precautions. Summer lightning storms and winter storms can both be threatening. Climbing on the soft rock in this region always poses some risks, especially when it is wet, icy or the weather is threatening.
Camping, Lodging and Information Resource LinksChadron State Park. If tenting or sleeping under the stars is not for you, the state park has some excellent cabins, as well as a dorm. For reservations or for questions, you can reach their office by phone at (308) 432-6167.
If your preference is a nearby hotel, you can contact the Chadron Chamber of Commerce at: (308) 432-4401 for up-to-date information.
For more information on hiking and climbing in western Nebraska, check out Panhandle Trails.