Steptoe Butte

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Steptoe Butte is located in United States
Steptoe Butte
Steptoe Butte
Location in the United States
Steptoe Butte is located in Washington (state)
Steptoe Butte
Steptoe Butte
Location in Washington

Steptoe Butte [1][2] in the northwest United States, is a quartzite island jutting out of the silty loess of the Palouse hills in Whitman County, Washington. It is contained by Steptoe Butte State Park.

The rock that forms the butte is over 400 million years old, in contrast with the 15–7 million year old Columbia River Basalts that underlie the rest of the Palouse. Steptoe Butte has become an archetype, as isolated protrusions of bedrock, such as summits of hills or mountains, in lava flows have come to be called steptoes. Steptoe Butte and Kamiak Butte comprise Steptoe and Kamiak Buttes National Natural Landmark.[3]

A hotel built by Cashup Davis [4] stood atop the butte from 1888 to 1908, burning down several years after it closed. In 1946, Virgil McCroskey donated 120 acres (0.49 km2) of land to form Steptoe Butte State Park, which was later increased to over 150 acres (0.61 km2). Steptoe Butte is currently recognized as a National Natural Landmark because of its unique geological value.[5] It is named in honor of Colonel Edward Steptoe.[6]

A narrow paved road winds around the butte, leading to a parking area at the summit. Popular activities include:

Elevation: 3,612 feet (1,101 m) above sea level, approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding countryside (prominence).

Visibility: Up to 70–100 miles (110–160 km). Mount Spokane is easily visible, 70 miles (110 km) to the north.



  1. ^ Steptoe Butte State Park
  2. ^ Steptoe Butte at
  3. ^ "National Registry of Natural Landmarks" (PDF). National Natural Landmarks Program. June 2009. p. 103. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  4. ^ Cashup Davis and his hotel
  5. ^ Popular photographs of the area on Flickr
  6. ^ "Creek". The Spokesman-Review. September 7, 2007. pp. A10. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 

Coordinates: 47°01′57″N 117°17′50″W / 47.03250°N 117.29722°W / 47.03250; -117.29722