Steptoe Butteis a quartzite island jutting out of the silty loess of thePalouse hills in Whitman County,WA.Ancient rock forms the butte with the vast area of theColumbia Riverbasalts underlying the rest of the Palouse.Islands of ancient rock have come to be called Steptoes.Recognized as aNational Natural Landmark because of itsunique geological value.It is named in honor ofColonel Edward Steptoe.A narrow paved road winds around the butte,leading to a parking area at the summit.(Elevation: 3,612 feet (1,101 m), approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding countryside.)
Traditionally thePalouse regionwas defined asthefertile hillsand prairiesnorth of theSnake River.
Once a prairie composed of mid-length perennial grasses,today virtually all of the Palouse Prairie is plantedin agricultural crops.
The Palouse is a major wheat-producingagricultural area along with canola, peas,& lentils. Palouse farmersproduce approximately6000 million poundsof dry peas and lentils annually.