OverviewCanyon Mountain does not have a maintained trail to the summit so it falls on the adventurer to seek his own path to the top. The Canyon Mountain trail skirts around the North and East faces of the peak, so making the summit is really only a matter of finding a place to leave the trail where you can bushwhack your way to the summit. In my opinion there are three obvious routes to the top; the Dean Creek Green Mountain route, up the Northwest Ridge and around to the Dean Creek Saddle, or up the Northeast Ridge. Other routes exist, but would involve technical climbing up Canyon Mountains several hundred feet high summit spine. I believe this route is the shortest of the three primary routes and does involve some technical climbing where a fall could mean death.
Route DescriptionOnce you leave the trail finding the summit spine is merely a matter of continuing to head up the mountain, sticking to the center of the ridge until you can see the top. From trail to spine is almost one mile of fairly easy hiking other than the terrifying amount of blowdown. The forest on Canyon Mountain is littered with thousands of acres of whitened dead blown-down lodgepole, which you will have to contend with anytime you leave the trail. Below is a picture of the Northeast Ridge which you will want to head directly up.
Once you reach the spine route finding becomes an issue. Generally you will want to follow the center of it, and descending to the east to circumnavigate a few of the deeper chasms and larger pinnacles. This area can be dangerous, be sure to take your time with route finding, a fall here would mean death or grievous injury.
The picture below shows the first part of the summit spine which looks easy enough. Here you travel south up the middle of the shallow canyon that runs down the middle.
In this picture below is a chute you may be forced to descend. I chose to take this route as opposed to climbing over a pinnacle that I could not tell was on the other side. Route finding up here is mostly at the discretion of the hiker, but expect conditions such as these.
The final scramble up the east face of the summit. Mercifully this is the easiest part of the spine.
Looking at the Ridge extending West and then North from the summit. I think of the conventional routes this would be the most difficult approach short of climbing directly up the vertical north face of the mountain.
Round trip this hike is a little over 11 miles with nearly 3500 feet of elevation gain.