Chicago Peak, Cliff Lake & St. Paul Peak Spring-Summer-Fall Easy

If you want easy hiking into the center of a Wilderness, this is the hike for you. Do be aware of the last 3 miles of the approach road, it's nasty. Four wheel vehicles only. From the trailhead, the hike into the Wilderness is only a mile or so. As you hike down out of the trees onto a flat area next to Chicago Peak, the Wilderness explodes all around you. Walk the edge of the flats, on your right (south) for views of the Wilderness. In a short distance Copper Lake comes into view on your left (north), with St. Paul Peak looming above it to the east. Follow the trail out to Cliff Lake about a mile from the car. On the way to Cliff Lake notice all the cliffs below the lake to the south, and Rock Peak across the valley. Look back at Chicago Peak and notice the uncanny resemblance to Chicago's skyline. There is a trail around Cliff Lake if you want to chill without much effort. If you are interested in dynamic views, coupled with a good workout, aim for the top of St. Paul Peak above Cliff Lake, or Rock Peak across the valley. There are no “trails” to the top of these peaks, so pick a route and have fun. The views are exceptional from the top of either peak.
To get to Cliff Lake trailhead drive east from Sandpoint on Hwy 200 to Rock Creek Road, 1.8 miles past the Noxon turn off. At .2 miles and under the power-lines bear right onto Road #150. (Do not go left on #150). Drive 5.3 miles and bear left at the Y. 2.5 miles past the Y turn right onto Road #2741, and drive about 3 miles to a right turn that is where the worst of the road exists. If you can drive the road, continue to the trailhead. If not park at the turn in the road and walk the easy 3 miles to the trailhead.

Cool things to see: scenic rivers on the drive up, cool trees, lakes, mountain summits, rocks, cliffs, Mountain Goats, meadows, towering peaks, wildflowers and Wilderness views.

All photographs are copyrighted by Chic Burge and are not to be copied.