Minidoka County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: September 18, 2007
Author: Jerry Brekhus

We visited Bear Den Butte for a second time. Off the top of my head, I think this may be the only county high point we have revisited.

This time we saved quite a few miles of driving by hiking a primitive road across the lava field instead of driving all the way around the south end of the tongue of lava. According to our odometer, here are some of the pertinent distances. Leaving the highway at mile 211.8, northeast of Carey, set trip odometer to zero. Drive south for 1.4 miles and turn left (east) near a sign with Craters of the Moon information. Follow this road generally east, ignoring roads that branch off to the north or south. At 15.4 miles come to a crossroads indicating "<---BIG BLOWOUT BUTTE 3" along with a few other destinations. Continue straight. At 20.2 miles bear right on an overgrown road. At 23.8 miles, cross a cattle guard. At 24.4 miles, turn left on the road which crosses the lava tongue.

We drove 0.3 mile on this road and parked as it entered the lava field. Actually, the road is quite easily driven to a high clearance vehicle but we chose to hike the remaining 4 miles or so to Bear Den Butte. In the future, this road may be closed to vehicles because this is a wilderness study area. There had been a recent wildfire so not only the lava field but also the sagebrush flat was black.

About two hours of leisurely hiking brought us to the summit. We explored looking for native wildlife and found only a small racer. See a previous trip report regarding another species of snake!

Our return hike was uneventful.