Jul 4, 2016 12:15:00 PM
Ch-paa-qn Peak located at the edge of Lolo National Forest and Missoula County is the prominent peak viewable from the Missoula valley to the northwest. A short hike will reward visitors with spectacular views in all directions. Access is available from both the Reservation Divide Trail #98 or the longer approach along Sleeping Woman Trail #707.
The approach to the trailhead on Edit Peak Road (FS# 476) was reasonable, but I would recommend a vehicle with more than average ground clearance as there were plenty of rocks scattered at different locations on the road.
The trailhead has a large parking lot with plenty of room for vehicles. Just a few others hikers were there when we arrived.
The trail is well marked at the edge of the parking lot.
We were surprised at how lush the vegetation was during the start of the hike. For early July, the vegetation was still really green and there were also wildflowers still thriving.
I'm not sure about the original purpose of this sign fastened to a tree along the trail, but it appears that plenty of people have left their autographs on it.
More views of the trail as we work our way towards the peak.
A U.S. General Land Office Survey marker located along the trail.
A really nice section of trail through the trees as you work your way towards Ch-paa-qn Peak.
The trail starts to open up as you reach higher elevations. Large rocks litter the hillside in large swaths coming down from the peak.
An enormous dead tree along the trail is covered with names from previous trail users.
The trail crosses sections of rock slides as it gets closer to the junction with Sleeping Woman Trail.
Trail before the approach to the peak.
From this point on, it is a scramble on the rocks up to the summit. Most of the rocks are stable, but caution is advised as they can move underneath you.
Views to the north from the summit. A small forest fire is visible in the distance. The Flathead Indian Reservation extends into the distance.
The Missoula valley in the distance. If you look close you can see the "L" on Mount Jumbo and the "M" on Mount Sentinel. They both look rather small from here!
It rained on our way back down to the trailhead, which allowed us the opportunity to see nature make the most out of the moisture, such as this vegetation collecting water.