Kicking off our spring break road trip,
Zosia Zgolak and I hiked up Chinese Peak near Pocatello, Idaho on 15
April 2022. A seasonal road runs up the west side of the peak all
the way to the summit and provides a simple ascent route which appears to
be popular with trail runners and mountain bikers. With numerous
communications infrastructure cluttering the summit and an inclement
weather forecast, we had low expectations for this objective but chose it
mainly to break up a long drive and stretch our legs a bit.
Incidentally, Chinese Peak used to go by a more derogatory
name up until 2001, and the peak was
named for a Chinese person who apparently died on the mountain at the
end of the 19th century.
Take Exit 69 on I-15 and drive east on Center Street. Turn right
onto Hospital Way and drive to a T-intersection with Terry Street.
Turn left and drive 900 metres before turning right onto American Road.
Drive south to a second T-intersection with Barton Road. Turn left
and drive 1.5 kilometres to a seasonal gate beside a gravel parking lot.
The gate is open to motorized traffic annually from April 15 to November
Fortuitously, the seasonal gate just opened on this day, and Zosia and I
were able to drive a further 1.7 kilometres up the road before increasing
snow cover prompted us to park our car and start walking. This
still saved us at least 200 metres of elevation gain. From where we
parked, we simply followed the winding snow-covered road for another 2.7
kilometres up to the top of Chinese Peak. No difficulties were
encountered. Despite cloudy skies and ugly antennas at the top, we
were still granted some respectable views of the surrounding areas, and
we wandered a little further beyond the actual summit before turning
around for our descent.
On the way down, Zosia and I retraced our steps along the road for a bit
before abandoning it to make a beeline for our car. Again, we had
no difficulties descending the open and gentle west slopes here.
Upon returning to our car, we easily drove back to the seasonal gate and
subsequently out to the highway.
The Snake River Plain is visible to the northwest as
Zosia descends from the summit.
||Eschewing the winding road, Zosia
drops down the open and gentle west slopes of Chinese Peak.
Distance: 5.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 1 hour 56 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 318 metres