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Chadron, NE: Steamboat Butte

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Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 1.5 miles


Climb a lone butte (and spend a few minutes exploring its rugged base) on this easy 1.5-mile loop that offers a panoramic peek at Chadron State Park's rugged terrain.
  • Top of Steamboat Butte
  • Sawmill Shelter
  • Trees
  • Trail Views
  • Top of Steamboat Butte
  • Trail
  • Flowers
  • Trail
  • Log
  • Bird House

This 1.5-mile loop, built and maintained by local boy scouts, begins at the north side of the Sawmill Shelter—plenty big for a pre- or post-hike picnic. To begin, cross the grassy area and follow the gently sloping trail south. You'll notice evidence of selective logging and restoration efforts alongside the trail before it turns sharply uphill at mile 0.25. It's a short climb to a saddle along the ridge where this route turns right to wander around the prominent butte just a few hundred feet away. To continue on the loop, follow the trail south along the ridgeline. Keep an eye out for deer and wild turkeys as the trail widens into a meadow near the Black Hills Overlook Road. Before reaching the road, turn left onto an easy downhill path that cruises an open valley to close the loop.

Note: If you're hiking with small kids, consider skipping the butte-top section of this route where loose rocks and steep cliffs add an element of danger to this otherwise easy hike.

-Mapped by Kristy Holland

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