Chinese Peak
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 15.

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.
How lucky were we that the gate opened just this day?

Sonny drives through the seasonal gate along the road that leads to the top of Chinese Peak.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

We saved ourselves over 200 metres of elevation gain!

Zosia begins hiking partway up the road.  The summit of Chinese Peak is visible in the distance.

Gotta love hikes with views right from the get-go! Distant views are already evident as Zosia hikes up the road.
The long and winding road...

The road makes several long switchbacks as it climbs up Chinese Peak.

So nice to see some sunshine! Zosia approaches the top of Chinese Peak.
At least you should have good cel phone reception up here! An assortment of telecommunications infrastructure clutters the top of Chinese Peak.
Ah so! Sonny and Zosia cover their eyes with oriental crackers on the summit of Chinese Peak (2074 metres).
Still some respectable views despite the cloudy weather.

Zosia wanders along the top of Chinese Peak with the city of Pocatello visible at left.

Too bad we can't see the big mountains on the horizon today.

The Snake River Plain is visible to the northwest as Zosia descends from the summit.


With a few heavy dumps of snow, this would be a great ski descent! Eschewing the winding road, Zosia drops down the open and gentle west slopes of Chinese Peak.
A nice short trip that fits the bill for many different reasons. Total Distance:  5.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  1 hour 56 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  318 metres

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