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A river runs near it
Having recently hiked South Butte, it's only natural I wanted to hike North Butte. This butte viewed from South Butte is gorgeous! It's also more eye-pleasing from Florence. Like Sedona and Grand Canyon, it's eroding and seems to have more color and steep terrain variation.
Beauty comes at a price. In which you pay in short steep slopes to near climbing. Nothing is technical. Going up is fun in the fact that there are no trails or even cairns. Route options appear to be plentiful. The only downside is the terrain itself. It's pretty unstable, so be careful. On my late summer trek, the mostly dead vegetation was cranking out micro thorns of some sort. These microneedles are similar to the fine needles on prickly pear cactus. I don't know where they came from but they sure did itch.
The top of North Butte consists of three high points. The lowest being on the north to the highest on the south. Most people likely head straight for the southern high point as it's the peak. I headed straight up to the middle-high point. It seemed impossible getting closer but proved to be relatively simple, requiring only minimal hand assist.
Once on top, I took in the views all around. The terrain is small boulders and large plates of rock, many of which are unstable. I didn't venture out to the north edge, but thinking back, it may have offered the best views. I moved on south to the peak. The views were a little disappointing compared to South Butte, but it was hard to complain on such a beautiful day.
South Butte is the best of the two buttes as far as views go. South Butte also has a superior cliff edge. The terrain is easier to negotiate too. However, if you're looking for something a little more challenging off the beaten path, then North Butte is worth a visit. I recommend wearing long pants or gaiters at the least.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.