About Butte County
Butte County lies at the northern edge of the Snake River Plain and the southern face of the mountains which form its northern limit. The Snake River Plain is covered with ancient lava flows, is very arid, and is mostly uninhabited. The mountains rise to a great height and are capped with snow much of the year. Creeks and rivers bring the spring runoff down into the canyons and valleys.
The Lost River Valley is the core of Butte County where most people live. The major town and county seat, Arco is in the Lost River Valley. The Big Lost River flows out of the mountains to the northwest of Butte County, waters this fertile valley, and then disappears into a sink in the lava beds, if it hasn't been used up for irrigation before it gets there. On the east side of the Lost River Valley are the Lost River Mountains, a towering range whose peaks stand above the tree line and can have snow in places until late summer. Idaho’s tallest peak, Mount Borah, is part of this range, a few miles north of Butte County.
On the east side of the Lost River Mountains is the valley of the Little Lost River which is sparsely populated, and the southern tip of the Lemhi Range juts into Butte County on the other side of it. West of the Lost River Valley stands Appendicitis Hill and Antelope Valley, which is Butte County’s northwest border.
Big Southern Butte is a prominent landmark in the Snake River Plain in the southern part of the county. This volcanic mountains rises 2,500 feet above the surrounding plain, reaching 7,517 feet at its peak. It is visible from a long distance to the south and was used to guide travelers on the Oregon Trail. Other smaller volcanic cones rise from the plain, and Big Southern Butte, along with the others, is the namesake of the county.
Butte County is the home to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), where atomic power was invented in the mid 1900s. Arco was the first city in the world to be powered by atomic power. The INL occupies a large part of the desert in the southeast corner of Butte County and beyond. Craters of the Moon National Monument occupies the southwest corner of Butte County and a large area beyond. The lava flows looked so fresh to the early discoverers that they figured they couldn’t be more than a hundred years old. The desolated conditions invoked images of the lunar surface, which is how the monument got its name.
Butte County was established on February 6, 1917 and covers 2,233 square miles. The population was 2,891 as of the 2010 census. The elevation in the plains and valleys is slightly above 5,000 feet generally. The mountains reach to above 10,000 feet.
For More Information:
See Wikipedia, Butte County, Idaho.