Billings County Highpoint Trip Report

Bullion Butte

Date: April 27, 2008
Author: Edward Earl

From I-94, I took exit 23 (W River Rd). Note: this exit is only available from westbound I-94. If headed eastbound, it is necessary to go a mile past and turn around at exit 24. Zero your odometer as you pass under the bridge. At 0.8 mile, turn L onto a good gravel road, signed as FR 745 and as Custer Trail. At 5.9 miles, road 750 (S Square Butte Rd) goes right. Stay straight. At 9.4 miles, cross a cattle guard where where 40th St goes R. Stay straight. At 12.4 miles, road 748 (Square Butte Rd) goes R. Stay straight. At 19.6 miles, turn left after a street sign indicating W River Rd and Pipeline Rd (it is not clear which is which). At 20.9 miles, cross a cattle guard just after a concrete slab stream ford (this is shortly after passing ranch facilities). At 21.3 miles, cross a cattle guard. At 21.5 miles, I parked. The road is easily passable by any street legal vehicle as far as the ranch; after that, it is narrow and uneven and a vehicle without high clearance may have a little trouble, but most drivers and vehicles can probably still make it.

According to a national grasslands map section 6 is privately owned S of the road, as is all of section 7 to the S of that. Sections 5 and 8, however, are public (despite the presence of grazing). The border between sections 5 and 6 is the cattle guard at 21.3 miles; hence, parking anywhere E of that point and hiking from there is OK. I headed S up the complex maze of gullies and ridges, staying E of the fenceline that defines the border between sections 7 and 8. Once clear of section 7, I headed SW toward the rim of the summit plateau, which is guarded by small sheer cliffs for most of its length. However, I spied a weak spot in a gully NE of the center of section 18, and gained the rim with little difficulty.

Once on the rim, it is an easy and straightforward walk S to the HP area at the SE tip of the plateau. There is a cairn with a register signed by a few noted cohpers.