Steptoe Butte State Park is a true gem in the state parks system and offers several activities for its visitors including picnicking, wildlife viewing, and incredible views of the Palouse. The 1000 foot elevation gain from the base to the summit is a short drive for most but for the adventurous they can hike or ride a bike.
Photographers have been coming for years trying to capture is spectacular views, sunrises and sunsets. Rangers will organize stargazing events in the summer. If it is windy (which it is quite often) on a Saturday or Sunday in the summer then it is very possible to see people either paragliding or hang gliding from the summit.
This is absolutely fascinating to watch and I have found myself watching them for hours on end. You might find yourself like me taking a hundred photos staring off and thinking “I could do that.”
Paragliders are lightweight, free flying foot-launched glider craft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing consisting of a large number of interconnected and baffled cells.
Hang gliding is where a pilot flies a light and non-motorized foot-launch aircraft that is of a delta wing design. Most modern hang gliders are made of an aluminum alloy or composite-framed fabric (“sailing material derived from parachute fabric”) wing. The pilot is ensconced in a harness suspended from the airframe, and exercises control by shifting body weight in opposition to a control frame, but other devices, including modern aircraft flight control systems, may be used.
Paragliding and hang gliding are both fun and safe activities for people with proper training. For more information on this sport or interested in learning to fly go to: http://www.ushpa.aero/