Butte noun \ˈbyüt\ (noun) : an isolated hill or mountain with steep or precipitous sides or crevices usually having a small summit area
Canada is a natural wonderland! With more miles of coastline than anywhere on the planet, grandiose mountain ranges, vast expanses of unspoiled tundra, majestic plains, and more water and rock than we know what to do with, our country is a haven of diverse and breath-taking landscape. It’s every sight-seers dream, but, even with all these visual treasures at our fingertips, there’s nothing quite as pleasing to the eye, quite as head-turning, as a really nice butte! And Canada is full of them! From the remote Nahanni Butte in Northwest Territories to Castle Butte, Saskatchewan which rises boldly from the plains, our nation can hold its head high with the knowledge that we are home to some of the nicest buttes on the planet! That’s why, in honour of Canada 150, we’ve decided to pay tribute to some these–our country’s finest assets…
Canada’s Nicest Buttes
Lone Butte, British Columbia
Who said buttes are useless? The towering volcanic plug located southeast of 100 Mile House, BC, doubles as an access point for Broadband Internet distribution! Here’s to betting this six million year old basalt formation could never have predicted its destiny in the technological age! Lone Butte rises more than 4000 feet above sea level and peaks attractively above craggy rock and spruce trees.
Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan
For a province that is too-often overlooked in the scenery department, Saskatchewan really holds its own when it comes to fine buttes! One such formation, located in 15 km East of the provincial capital, is Pilot Butte. This flat-topped hill sits right in the town site, and it is a natural monument of sorts to the history of the area. The butte was used by indigenous people as a camp and lookout area for hunting buffalo.
Castle Butte, Saskatchewan
What’s this? Ayre’s rock, Australia? Utah? Arizona? No, It’s Castle Butte, Saskatchewan! Composed of sandstone and clay, Castle Butte is a relic to history! Formed during the ice age and nearly 60m high, this grand, reddish formation served as a landmark for indigenous peoples and later early prairie settlers. To set your sights on this butte, head to the Big Muddy Badlands of Southern Saskatchewan where Castle Butte sits among impressive badland terrain.
Bald Butte, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan may not be as flat as you think! Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park boasts some of the highest elevations of the Canadian provinces. One of the parks most notable features is Bald Butte located in the Central Block the park which peaks at over 1300 ft above sea level. This butte is accessible to hikers and beautifully situated amidst the rolling hills of southwestern Saskatchewan.
Nebogwawin Butte, Manitoba
AKA Merry Dance Hill or the Star Mound, Nebogawawin Butte is situated in southern Manitoba west of the town of Snowflake. It dramatically rises 100 ft from the surrounding prairie and is known to be an ice-age moraine. Visitors to Nebogwawain won’t want to miss the beaver-shaped burial site that can be found on top of butte which is thought to have historical ties to pre-1700’s Aboriginal village.
Nahanni Butte, North West Territories
A stately butte near a NWT town bearing the same name, Nahanni Butte is remote and accessible only by river taxi in the summer or ice road in the winter. This stunning butte is hike-able and offers picturesque views of the South Nahanni River and the Dehcho village below. This butte is near the stunning Nahanni National Park.
Mud Buttes, Alberta
In the badlands of Alberta, home to herds of cattle, is Mud Buttes. This geological formation is a spectacular display of whimsical outcroppings that protrude from grassy plains 13km east of the town of Consort. Unique to Mud Butte is a landscape marked by coal seams, deep fissures, and not even a hint of a tourist amenity! Hiking the exposed earth of Mud Butte is not advisable due to the unstable soil conditions and plethora of cacti native to the area!
70 Mile Butte, Saskatchewan
If long a nice, long and proud butte is your thing, you’ll want to catch sight of 70 Mile Butte in Grasslands National Park! This is the literal high-point in the park where sightseers will enjoy vistas of unspoilt prairie grasslands dotted with beautiful wild flowers. To get to the butte, hikers will need to be prepared to undertake a 5km hike on a rustic and scenic path through the grasslands where, if you’re lucky, you might catch glimpse of a wild buffalo or another of the many endangered animals that call the park home.
Frenchman Butte, Saskatchewan
There’s something a little… how you say… je ne sais quoi about a Frenchman Butte! In the case of Frenchman Butte, Saskatchewan, that little something is enough to qualify this beautiful butte as a national historic site! This site in west-central Saskatchewan is a relic to the 1885 Northwest Resistance between the Wandering Spirit Cree and General Strange’s army. If you fancy an up close and personal tour of this fine feature, guided tours are available featuring, among other things, guns pits, paddle-wheeled steam boats, and Fort Pitt.
Happy 150 to Canadians near and far! How will you celebrate this fine land of ours?