Elevation: 5,968 ft
This peak is not in the book. Revised April 2018.
Squaw Butte is located north of Emmett, ID at the tail end of the West Mountains. The butte is a large, complex mountain with many faces and high points. Although commonly referred to as a single peak, this massif has 3 points with over 300 feet of prominence, separated by a distance of nearly 2 miles. The butte is better described as a small mountain range than a single peak. The 3 high points from south to north are Squaw Butte South, Squaw Butte and Squaw Butte North/Peak 5626. Each of these peaks is separated by a significant saddle. USGS Squaw Butte
Most people incorrectly believe that the fire lookout, which is located at the southern end of Squaw Butte South, is the highest point. The fire lookout is not even the summit of Squaw Butte South. Squaw Butte South has an elevation of 5,894 feet and the lookout’s elevation is 5,874 feet. The true summit is located well to the north of these 2 points. While the actual high point of Squaw Butte is only 2 feet higher than Squaw Butte South, if you want to claim an ascent of Squaw Butte, you must go the extra mile.
A maintained road leads to the fire lookout on the south end of Squaw Butte South. This road is generally passable to 2WD vehicles to the saddle below the lookout. From the saddle, a rougher road leads north to Point 5870 and a large brick building. Beyond this point, the road is only advised for 4WD vehicles. This rough, steep road follows the ridge north past the slopes of Squaw Butte South, Squaw Butte and Squaw Butte North. This section of road can be nasty when wet but does make a good path for hikers.
To reach the peak from Emmett, leave ID-16 at its junction with Washington Avenue North. Follow Washington Avenue (which is also designated as ID-52) north through town. North of town, ID-52 swings east. Continue straight at this point onto Van Duesen Road. Follow Van Duesen Road north until the pavement ends. Turn right onto Butte Road and follow it for a short distance until you see a cattle guard on your left. Turn left, cross the cattle guard and follow the maintained dirt road to the saddle below the lookout. The road is closed in the winter.
East Slopes Route (Class 2+)
The easiest way to climb Squaw Butte is to follow the road described above to the peaks East Slopes and climb directly up the grass and brush-covered slope to the summit ridge, aiming for a point just south of center. The summit ridge is a long narrow rock rib. You can find a Class 2 line up the last 20 feet or do a short scramble to reach the high point. The crux for this route is crossing a barbed wire fence midway up the slope. You can also reach the summit by following the ridge line north from Squaw Butte South. There are a few brushy spots to navigate around, but this is a more direct route.