The County Highpoints of Texas
Stepp Mountain • Highpoint: Mitchell County

Stepp Mountain

Stepp Mountain again

Parked below the mesa

View from atop the mesa

Date: March 19, 2003 • Elevation: 2,574 feet • Prominence: 109 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 220 feet • Conditions: Sunny, high clouds, some wind


Stepp Mountain is a part of an extensive complex of mesas that extend into neighboring Nolan and Coke Counties south of Colorado City. These are mesas in the truest sense: the tops are flat, and the summits thereon are difficult to locate exactly.

I drove state route TX-208 south to the town of Silver, then a dirt road across the way from FM-1672. I followed this dirt road north a mile, then east a mile, then a road south, all on the McCabe Oil Field. However, the roads were open for travel and there were no prohibitive signs.

At this last road heading south, I came to a crumple gate, signed as "Shenandoah Petroleum Corporation, Walker". I drove south, then parked out of sight near an oil pump in a cleared area. I was north of Stepp Mountain.

I started walking uphill, and quickly, the gradients became steep and rubbly. In a matter of minutes, I was below the caprock that lines the top of the mesa, forming a wall around the entire perimeter. The brush was thick, and I found myself on all fours to get through the thickest sections, all the while eyeballing some way up the caprock.

I was able to find cracks and weaknesses in the caprock that allowed for reasonably safe passage to the top. Once on top, I walked south through the flat terrain, the brush and trees limiting views to a few dozen yards at best.

Off in the distance, I saw a post of some sort, so I hiked to it. It was a 4x4 wood slab, held up by guy wiring. Suspecting it was placed here by the surveyors, I searched the area for the benchmark, and after brushing away dirt and leaves off a rock, found the lovely little disk, stamped "Stapp" for some reason.

Is the disk the highest point? I cannot say so definitively, but it was a tangible thing to tag. On the walk out, I meandered and deliberately sought out any heap, mound, hump, hummock or rockpile that might be a contending highpoint. In the process, I felt I gave the area good coverage.

Back to the caprock, I found a way down and into the brushy, steep slopes, then back to my truck. I was gone an hour total. Done with my trip, I began the long drive home. I spent the rest of today driving, getting as far as Lordsburg, New Mexico. A storm was coming in from the west and conditions deteriorated as I drove. I arrived back home the following day.

(c) 2003, 2019 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.