Discover the Highest Point in North Dakota

Written by Dayva Segal
Updated: October 21, 2023
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North Dakota is one of the top 10 flattest states in the United States. Much of the state is plains and prairie. However, even a relatively flat state has a high point!

Infographic of White Butte
Summiting White Butte is almost a four-mile round trip that takes most hikers two hours or less.

What Is the Highest Point in North Dakota?

North Dakota

White Butte is part of the Badlands, a stretch of 190 miles of rock and clay.

©iStock.com/Tammi Mild

White Butte, located near Amidon, is the highest point in North Dakota. It is at 3,506 feet above sea level and is part of Little Missouri National Grassland, though White Butte is actually on private property. It is owned by the Dennis family, who maintains the area. In the parking area, they keep a small lockbox for donations to help with the associated costs.

White Butte is part of the Badlands. This area is a stretch of 190 miles of rock and clay. Over time, erosion has created unique shapes among the rocks, such as buttes, pyramids, and cones. Due to different rock layers revealing themselves over time, the rocks have layers of colors ranging from white to red and orange. In some areas of the Badlands, lignite coal has been burning for many years, turning the rocks around the burning areas pink or red.

Where Is White Butte Located on a Map?

White Butte is a location situated in North Dakota, USA. It can be found specifically in Slope County, which is approximately 60 miles south of Dickinson and around 15 miles northeast of Amidon. To reach White Butte from the nearest town, Amidon, visitors have to travel about six miles on gravel roads to get there.

On a map, White Butte can be located using its coordinates — latitude: 46°29’09″N and longitude: 103°24’00” W. It should also be noted that while it may seem like the butte is surrounded by private land on all sides, there are actually public easements that provide access for visitors who wish to hike up its peak.

Overall, White Butte’s precise location makes it an exciting destination for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of North Dakota’s landscape. With careful planning and navigation tools at hand, getting there should not pose too much difficulty for those keen on discovering this hidden gem in Slope County.

Hiking White Butte

Summiting White Butte is a non-technical hike, although there are few muddy spots or places where an easy rock scramble is necessary. It is almost four miles round trip and is considered friendly to both kids and dogs. It is a great hike for those who like to run or walk and offers opportunities for bird watchers, wildflower lovers, and more. Hikers report beautiful views along the hike and at the top of White Butte. On average, it takes most hikers two hours or less to complete this hike.

Hazards on this trail include rattlesnakes and slippery mud in warmer weather, and snowy or icy conditions in colder seasons. Weather in this area can change rapidly. In the summer, thunderstorms can come in quickly. Be prepared with wet weather gear, and always dress in warm layers during the winter.

You don’t need a permit to hike this trail. A donation of $5 is suggested at the trailhead. Once you arrive, park your car in the parking lot. Do not drive up the access road that leads to an abandoned house. There is a cattle gate at the trailhead. Be sure to close it before setting off on your hike.

Next to this hiking area to the east is private property that is clearly marked with no trespassing signs. Don’t wander onto that land. Those who own this land ask others to please respect this private property and the property of others in the area by following “leave no trace” ethics.

Other Things to Do in the Area

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is home to grazing animals, including bison, elk, and wild horses.

©iStock.com/rruntsch

If a four-mile hike isn’t quite enough for you to feel fully satisfied, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy in the area. White Butte is just 35 miles south of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This park consists of three separate areas of more than 100,000 square miles of beautiful wilderness. There are more 100 miles of trails suitable for hiking and horseback riding. You can also stay overnight either in the backcountry or in one of the three developed campgrounds.

Other High Points in North Dakota

Black Butte, located nearby, is the second-highest point in the state at 3,470 feet tall. It is just 17 miles away from White Butte. It gets its name because when viewed around sunset, the butte looks black in color.

Sentinel Butte, also located in the Badlands, is the third-highest point in North Dakota, at 3,428 feet tall. It is near the small town of the same name, Sentinel Butte, which has a population of only 66 people.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Tammi Mild


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About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the highest point in North Dakota?

The highest point in North Dakota is White Butte.

How tall is White Butte in North Dakota?

White Butte in North Dakota is 3,506 feet tall.

What is the second highest peak in North Dakota?

Black Butte is the second-highest peak in North Dakota. It is located just 17 miles away from White Butte, the highest peak in the state.

How tall is Black Butte in North Dakota?

Black Butte in North Dakota is 3,470 feet high.

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Sources
  1. Summit Post, Available here: https://www.summitpost.org/white-butte/151926
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Butte
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands
  4. All Trails, Available here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-dakota/white-butte-north-dakotas-highpoint-trail
  5. Beautiful Badlands, Available here: https://www.beautifulbadlandsnd.com/the-badlands-sentinel-butte-is-the-2-highest-point-in-nd/
  6. Peakery, Available here: https://peakery.com/black-butte-north-dakota/