High Points: White Butte, North Dakota

If you loathe traffic, the commute to White Butte is pure ecstasy.
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If you loathe traffic, the commute to White Butte is pure ecstasy.

The Peak: 3,506 feet

This high point lies 7 miles, and a maze of desolate gravel roads, southeast of Amidon (a town of 40 with a standout burger joint) in Slope County, an area larger than Rhode Island with just 767 people. The mile-long hike leads past four barbwire fences and through a harsh landscape French traders called les mauvaises terres a traverser-bad lands to travel through. The peak is appropriately named: It's all white rock, white mud, even white grasshoppers.

The Paleontologists

Roughly 65 million years before the Battle of the Little Big Horn, T-rex dinosaurs ruled a tropical swampland in what is now the southwest corner of North Dakota. More giant reptile femurs have been dug up in the area than anywhere else on the planet. Dig your own at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman (www.ptrm.org), just 23 miles from Amidon.