Nice, easy hike. The location is very remote, so it was quite an adventure to find the place and even more so to find my way back home after dark. GPS is a must! If you like to get away from the crowds, this is definitely the place to go! I went on February 27th, the last weekend before the bird nesting season from March to June when access to the top of the bluffs is prohibited. This is a major portion of the trails so be aware of this before you go and plan accordingly.
Beautiful, easy hiking, and even on Memorial Day weekend we only saw three groups of other hikers near the buttes. Unfortunately for hikers, the buttes are closed through June 30 in order to allow the raptors peace for nesting, so you are limited to the trail around the base, but it's a very beautiful and quiet area. Lots of wildlife, including prime antelope viewing on the way in. It's clear that fracking has had a great impact on the landscape, which is unfortunate, but you will still have no problem finding tranquil beauty here. Bring your own water in!
Leslie K. on Pawnee Buttes Trail
I went with my 2 large dogs in late March and we really enjoyed it! ... Well, once I got there and out on the trail. The last 50 minutes of my drive was down a dirt road with a speed limit of 55 and oil tankers not holding back. After an hour of playing chicken I was glad to be at our destination... and alive! (Next time I will research a different route in!) I was amazed at the temperature drop and luckily I had my gloves and heavier jacket in the car. The winds were intense when you weren't shielded by the buttes and I imagine that may always be the case as the beautiful views include massive white windmills for as far the eye can see. The trails over the tops of the buttes are closed March - June due to birds of prey nesting. It was still a lot of fun walking to the end of the trail between the buttes and exploring other smaller trails winding throughout the bottom of the buttes.... or maybe that was just me inventing trails systems trying to avoid the drive out of there! All kidding aside, I will definitely go back again after June!
For the first hike of the spring, we decided to mix up things a bit and head away from the mountains. The driving approach was interesting, with antelope herds, the wind farm, missile silos, and a lot of other things to see. The hike to the buttes was relatively easy, traversing down between cliffs where raptors nest (side trails closed until June 30 for nesting birds), then across a bit of an open range to pass by the bases of the buttes, which are quite pretty. I can imagine in the right light, they are extremely striking. On a spring Friday afternoon, we only passed one other group, so it was quite calm and peaceful. Be warned, there are no restroom facilities at the trail.