Riding the wind at Steptoe Butte State Park

Steve Baran Blog Share

Many thanks to Steve Baran for sharing his story and photos from a frosty flight over Steptoe Butte State Park Heritage Site earlier this winter! Steve is a hang-gliding enthusiast and has been flying over the butte since 1976. Want to be featured on State Parks’ Adventure Awaits blog? Share your story and photos here. Remember: Hang-gliding and paragliding require extensive training and practice. Never attempt flying until you have qualified to do so with a certified trainer

There was quite a bit of snow at Steptoe Butte State Park in early November!

It was a fun flight in soarable 20-plus miles per hour, east-by-southeast winds and 36 degrees. This wind speed, when deflected upwards as it strikes the butte's steep east side, enables soaring flights for as long as the wind keeps blowing — or one's toes get too cold to stay in the air!

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I clocked an hour and 10 minutes aloft taking in spectacular views of the butte and surrounding Palouse hills. Next time, I'll have some toe warmers on board!

Steptoe's road isn't always open in the winter as it can easily become drifted shut by winds on the open terrain of southeast Washington.

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For further information on flying hang gliders and paragliders at Steptoe Butte please visit our eastern Washington and northern Idaho flying club's website: www.centeroflift.org

-Steve Baran
Chatteroy, WA

Check out Steve’s GoPro video of this flight!

Learn more...

Feeling inspired to check out Steptoe Butte yourself? Or are you a long-time fan of this unique quartzite bluff in the middle of the Palouse? Would you like to weigh in on the future of recreation at this park?

Then get ready to CAMP!

Classification and Management Planning, or CAMP, is how Washington State Parks shapes the future of its parks. Public participation and input are crucial to the multi-staged CAMP process. State Parks is continuing the 10- to 15-month CAMP process for Steptoe Butte and Steptoe Battlefield State Park Heritage Site with two public meetings. The first is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 26, at the Colfax branch of the Whitman County Library. Directions. The second is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Rosalia Elementary and High School. Directions

Join State Park planners, and lend your voice to help shape the future of these great Palouse parks!  Learn more about the CAMP for Steptoe Butte and Steptoe Battlefield state parks.

Bonus: here's another of Steve's flights over the Palouse, this time on a bright, clear day in early February 2018!