Big Southern Butte
WINTER CLOSURE: The road to Big Southern Butte is extremely hazardous in the winter because ice and snow accumulate on its steep grade. BLM officials close the road during the winter, depending on snow levels and road conditions. For more information regarding seasonal closures, please contact the BLM Upper Snake Field Office at 208-524-7500.
Big Southern Butte is one of two rhyolitic domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain (of the nearby Twin Buttes, East Butte is rhyolitic and Middle Butte is basaltic). The area supports lodgepole pine, aspen, Douglas fir, and manzanita (not common to this region). The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world but at 300,000 years old is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Approximate season of use is mid-May through October, depending on snow levels and road conditions. The road is open to full-sized vehicles, but it is best traveled by ATV or UTV. Please call the Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center at 208-523-1012 for more information.
From Arco: Take the Country Road/300 North heading south (this is signed as the 'Arco OHV Route'). Turn east onto Arco-Minidoka Road/2930 North. Turn onto 2900 West heading south and turn west onto 2150 North, turn north onto 300 West which turns into 2225 North. Turn onto the Arco-Minidoka Road heading south for several miles. Turn east onto Quaking Asp-Frenchman Road toward Big Southern Butte. At Frenchman's Cabin, turn and head up the Butte.
From Idaho Falls/Pocatello: Take Highway 26 to Atomic City. Follow Main Street/Taber Road about 1.5 miles south and turn right onto a gravel raod (W 1600 N). This semi-improved road passes around the north side of the Butte until it reaches a small landing strip, which was also an old stage coach stop. Turn and follow the road uphill. There is a place to park by the side of the gate if hiking.