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Menan Butte, Menan

#20 of 26 in Trails in Idaho
The North and South Menan Buttes in southeastern Idaho are two of the world's largest volcanic tuff cones. The two cones, with four smaller associated cones, align along a north-northwest line and comprise the Menan Complex. The buttes rise about 800 feet (250 m) above the surrounding Snake River plain and are late Pleistocene in age, dating to approximately 10,000 YBP (Years Before Present). The South Menan Butte is currently in private hands, however North Menan Butte is publicly owned and has been designated as a National Natural Landmark and a Research Natural Area by the United States Congress. The US Bureau of Land Management designated the North Butte as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).
The volcanoes forming the two major Menan Buttes were created when basaltic magma came into contact with a shallow aquifer or with the precursor of the modern Snake River. Particles of volcanic glass called tachylite were created as the water turned to steam and explosively fragmented the hot magma. The cone shaped deposits are fairly uniform and consist primarily of tuff in lapilli-size particles. Some deposit layers preserve indentations, designated as “bomb sags”, made as larger pyroclastic particles landed on soft layers of tuff.
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Menan Butte Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
8 reviews
  • It is on the more difficult level, so if you go, make sure to pace yourself and bring water! The top can be quite windy. Once your get to the top, you are able to walk all the way around the top of th...  more »
  • The lava does get a fine layer of sand on it so it can be very slick on the hike back down. If you choose to hike the rim, i like to start by turning left at the top of the hill, the trail is a little...  more »
  • Fun hike. It's a little steep most of the way but not too hard. Definitely wear spikes if your doing it in the winter though.
  • There is plenty of nature to appreciate here. Dozens of bird species, coyotes, rabbits, deer, three-prong. Hunting is allowed but always look into current regulations. Desert off-roading, water features, rocky and sandy with dry brush. No fireworks.

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