Kamiak Butte

Colfax, Washington 99111

Kamiak Butte

Kamiak Butte Professional Review and Guide

"A map sign marks the Pine Ridge trailhead from the day-use area. The trail heads up a wide path, making several long switchbacks to the top of the ridge. Here you can begin to understand why this island of habitat is designated a national natural landmark for its natural and geologic significance. The cooler, denser north side of the ridge (including some cedars) you just ascended gives way to a dryer remnant grassland prairie habitat facing south, including arrowleaf balsamroot and other plants associated with lower sagelands. Wildflowers bloom here as early as February, peaking in May and June."

More Kamiak Butte Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Pine Ridge Trail makes a quick loop up and down one of the Palouse region’s rare mountains. The 2.5-mile trip starts in a dense forest, where the trail begins to switchback up a steep hillside to the top of a ridge. From the ridge, the wrinkles and folds and patches of wheat and lentils of the Palouse stretch in all directions. Photographers flock to the Palouse to capture its wide-open beauty, and Kamiak Butte is a unique vantage point."

"The Pine Ridge Trail makes a quick loop up and down one of the Palouse region’s rare mountains. The 2.5-mile trip starts in a dense forest, where the trail begins to switchback up a steep hillside to the top of a ridge.

From the ridge, the wrinkles and folds and patches of wheat and lentils of the Palouse stretch in all directions. Photographers flock to the Palouse to capture its wide-open beauty, and Kamiak Butte is a unique vantage point."

"Kamiak Butte stands like an island in the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse country—not merely a physical island of rock jutting up above the fertile soils of the Palouse hills but also an “ecosystem island.”

The dry butte supports a rich sage desert ecosystem on its southeastern face, with a lush forest—ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, grand fir, even some cedar—on its north face. This combination of vegetation provides excellent habitat for an array of birds and animals, and the high top of the butte offers outstanding views of the sprawling Palouse country of southeast Washington (and Idaho)."

"Kamiak Butte rises nearly 800 feet above the rolling loess hills of the Palouse. And although
nearby Steptoe Butte may be the more famous of southeastern Washington’s natural landmarks, 3641-foot Kamiak is higher, roadless, and more pristine."

"A delightful 3.5-mile loop, the Pine Ridge Trail—a designated National Recreation Trail—will take you to the top and along the crest of the butte. Unlike Steptoe Butte to the north, which is completely devoid of trees, Kamiak’s northern slope is graced with a mature forest of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. It may very well be the largest forested tract in all of Whitman County.

Best of all, this forest helps protect you from the Palouse’s ubiquitous wind and occasional hot sun. The ascent is completely forested, with occasional views to Steptoe Butte and McCroskey Country. It’s a well-constructed route with a good surface, but it can get slick in wet weather. After about 1.5 miles you’ll emerge on the crest of the butte and come to a junction."

Kamiak Butte Reviews

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7/17/2018
Gorgeous views, wonderful hike! When I visit my friends in Washington we try to make it here for this great trail. Not too strenuous, the steady elevation climb is just enough to give you a work out without too much of a struggle. Good hike for both kids and dogs.
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6/15/2010
This guide does not do Kamiak Butte justice. Aside from the trail there is a fantastic day use area and playground as well as an 8 site campground. We like to come here from Pullman for quick Friday night camps with our two small daughters. There are a couple shorter trail options, too.
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10/2/2007
Trail running, hiking, or a Sunday morning stroll - the Kamiak Butte trail offers a pleasant, forested trail oasis among the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse. A steepish climb on the north side (part of the loop has steps) and a wonderful, gradual ascent/descent (depending on which direction you're going) along the ridge. There are great views from the south side ridge portion of the trail. Bring a picnic lunch for a break on the summit spur or do the loop multiple times for a nice trail run.
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Kamiak Butte Photos

Trail Information

Colfax
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
2.9
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
March-October
Season