Bear Den Butte

Elevation: 5,104 ft

This butte, the highest pount in Minidoka County is not in the book.


Bear Den Butte is located in the southwest corner of the Craters of the Moon National Monument. While this butte does not have 300 feet of prominence (254′) its status as the highest point in Minidoka County insures that it is often visited. The butte is not easy to reach and is located in unforgiving country and should only be visited by experienced desert travelers.

Ken Jones provided the following instructions:

Leave I-84 at exit 208 and head north on Idaho 27 to Paul, Idaho. Continue north (the road is now 600 W) to Highway 24 (about 14 miles from interstate) (mile 0.0). Head north across railroad track (a BLM sign north of the track indicates “South Park Well 26” and another discourages through traffic to Carey). At 1.3 miles, follow the main road as it curves right, then bear left at 1.8. At 2.8 (junction with road 700 N) (note that many of the labels for these roads in my DeLorme Idaho 1992 edition do not match the road signs; I use the signs in this writeup) continue straight ahead (north).

(In what follows, not all junctions are given, but any that might be confusing or useful as landmarks are included.) Stay on main road, passing a track left at 5.9 and a main junction with destroyed signs (probably Bear Trap Cave Road) at 9.1 miles. Pass another fork left at 13.7, and find still another at 15.3 by a landing strip. Stay right on the main road, and continue straight past a major sharp left fork around the end of the strip at 15.5. The main road is easy to follow, past a right fork at 15.6 and lefts at 18.6, 20.6, 21.7, and 22.5. You’ll cross a cattle guard at 23.1 miles and pass forks right at 23.4 and left at 24.3. (The mapped shortcut at about 24.8 was not found at either end.) At 26.5 miles, you’ll be just south of a couple of buildings at South Park Well. Take the first right fork here. Keep right at a T-intersection at 27.9, and bear left on the better fork at 29.0. Cross another cattle guard at 29.4 and keep left at the fork at Point Lake (29.9). You’ll skip a jeep trail right at 32.8. Bear Den Butte has been obvious for a number of miles.

The high point is the smooth, rounded summit to the east. The sharp rock pillar on the western summit is actually a cairn. At 35.0 miles and several more times in the next 0.5 mile you’ll pass jeep tracks left. These enter a Wilderness Study Area, and even though one set appears to lead to the summit it is not recommended to drive them. At 35.5 there is a BLM sign identifying Bear Den Butte, and a left fork at 35.6. Go left and park when you like the approach to the summit (about 0.25 to 0.5 mile). With dry road conditions, a passenger car can get here. From the vehicle, walk cross-country directly to the summit. A stroll around the crater rim to the western summit is recommended, but not required — the eastern is definitely higher.

 

 

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Snake River Plain

Longitude: -113.50759   Latitude: 43.17869

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