Ch-paa-qn Peak and the Full Moon

Tackled Ch-paa-qn Peak (pronounced “cha-pock-qwin”) near Missoula in the late afternoon, and man, what a hike! Formerly known as Squaw Peak, the summit takes a bit of effort but man is it worth it! The views of Mission and Bitterroot Ranges are outstanding, and you can even look down on the National Bison Range near Moiese.

Ch-paa-qn Peak is the familiar symmetrical pyramid west of Missoula that sits high on the Reservation Divide. The Reservation Divide separates the Ninemile from the Flathead Reservation.

Getting There

Take Interstate 90 west to the Nine Mile Road Exit (Exit 82), turn north onto Remount Road. Continue to the Historic Ninemile Ranger Station. Continue north for another 1.5 miles, then, take a right onto Edith Peak Road (FS# 476). Stay on this well-maintained road for roughly 10 miles until you see a parking area and trailhead sign.

The Hike

  • Trail: Reservation Divide Trail #98
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1816 feet

The trail maintains a steady, maybe steep, incline for the first 1.5 until you reach a reach that you continue on for another 1.5 miles. At 3.1 miles, you make a right turn up the slope on the talus-covered southeast ridge. The going here is somewhat difficult as you climb and scramble over a mixture of large boulders and unstable small talus. At the summit, you find a cairn and awesome views. The down climb is much more difficult than the up, especially when your legs are a pair noodles.

Trail leading to Ch-paa-qn Peak at Mile 0

Trail leading to Ch-paa-qn Peak at Mile 0

Whitebark pine in various states of living and dying

Whitebark pine in various states of living and dying

Warm sun on the flanks of Ch-paa-qn Peak

Warm sun on the flanks of Ch-paa-qn Peak

Mission Range from Ch-paa-qn Peak

Mission Range from Ch-paa-qn Peak

Jeff and I in a summit selfie

Jeff and I in a summit selfie

Looking west from Ch-paa-qn Peak

Looking west from Ch-paa-qn Peak

Full Moon over the Ch-paa-qn Peak Trail

Full Moon over the Ch-paa-qn Peak Trail

 

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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