North Dakota has three summits throught the state known as White Butte, however the one standing outside of the town of Amidon is the highest point in the entire state. Rising to an altitude of 1,069 m (3,507 ft) above sea-level, White Butte is the 30th highest state summit of the U.S. Highpoints. Most of the buttes in the area exhibit a chalky white color resulting from the bentonite clay found in the local rocks and soil. The area around this highpoint shows signs of fairly recent glaciation; the advance of these massive ice sheets scoured the land, leaving a mostly flat landscape with intermittent boulders carried there by the power of the glaciers. The topography of the area was formed where the rivers of ice did not cover the surface, thus leaving the buttes in the area. The last of the glaciers receeded at the end of the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.
From Amidon, ND:
- Go E on US 85 for 2.0 miles to an unmarked gravel road.
- Turn S (R) on the road and continue on for 5.0 miles to another gravel road.
- Turn W (R) and continue 1.2 miles to the VanDaele's farmhouse.
Update: September 2004 - The land surrounding and including White Butte is owned by Daryle and Mary Dennis. As a courtesy, permission to cross their property may be obtained from the Dennis’s. The Dennis’s phone number is (701) 879-6310. However‚ in the event no one is home to grant permission‚ it is not mandatory. Remember‚ White Butte is on private property. Please respect the rights of the property owner.
Update: December 2003 - Our condolences go to the VanDaele & Buzalsky families for the passing of Mrs. Angeline VanDaele on 20 October 2003. I know that myself, as well as many other hikers, enjoyed getting to know her when visiting White Butte, and we are all saddened to know that she will no longer be there to greet us. During this time, it is not certain what sort of access issues may arise, but please be especially respectful of the family's wishes.
When To Climb
Each season brings different challenges. Winter usually sees cold temperatures and significant snowfall, however, warm clothing can take care of this problem. During Summer, the butte country crawls with rattlesnakes making this an unfavorable time to complete this hike, especially if bringing any canine companions. Spring and Fall are probably the best times to visit White Butte.
The property owners, Daryle and Mary Dennis, can be contacted with questions, however, please keep the calls to reasonable hours (Central Time). Their phone number is (701) 879-6310.
White Butte, while best-known for its status as a state highpoint, is also the highest point of North Dakota's Slope County. Nearby Black Butte is the second highest point in the state and stands 1,056 m (3,465 ft) high with a 139 m (455 ft) prominence from its parent, White Butte.