Hike Canyon Creek Meadow and 3 Fingered Jack

Added by Seth Whelden

Views of Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and Mt. Washington (among others). Camp at the base of Three Finger Jack. Thousands of wildflowers. Loop hike.

This hike is truly spectacular from the moment you step foot out of your car. Jack Lake lies at the beginning of the trail, and provides a beautiful sample of what's to come. Stop and take pictures if you feel so inclined, but don't stop here to camp, because it gets a LOT better!

Follow the trail around the lake and for two miles through both forest dense with life and a burned version of the same thing. As the forest begins to open up you'll see campsites on either side of you well off the path and then land in Lower Canyon Creek Meadow. After regaining your balance from being struck in the face by the beauty of 3 Finger Jack, continue up the path for another mile or so. After climbing another small ridge, you'll see Upper Canyon Creek Meadow below, filled with wild flowers in August, and possibly even some snow surrounding the valley and on the face of the mountain.

There are campsites all around the meadow but finding one with a view can be difficult if you don't get there too early. In reality you can set your tent up within 100 feet of water or trails, but you'll quickly realize that this is easier said than done, especially since you don't want to lay your tent out over any wild flowers. Worst case, hang out for a bit and head back to the lower meadow to find a spot to setup camp.

The trail continues up toward an alpine lake and saddle aside the mountain. It's a steep climb on loose rock, but worth every step. If there is still plenty of time in the day, feel free to head up to the shoulder and bask in the views. Mt. Jefferson lies to the north, with potentially Mt. Hood behind on a clear enough day. To the south you'll find Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters, and Black Butte. Right next to you 3 Finger Jack towers above. If you setup camp too late to bother heading up to the ridge (not recommended to come down in the dark), then go up in the morning. I went up just after sunrise and had the whole place to myself for at least an hour.

After spending a night, the day, or the whole weekend in this magical land, head back the way you came, through the lower meadows until you reach the fork. Right is where you came in, but left will lead back to the same parking lot, along a very different route. This one has a stream alongside, and jets off to some nice little side adventures if you have time.

Read More


Dog Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 


🥇Top Contributor

about 3 years ago

Family-friendly backpacking oasis

Beginning this adventure from the Jack Lake Trailhead makes it much more accessible for slower hikers and younger children, as compared to beginning on the PCT side of Three Fingered Jack. Try to go in the spring or early summer when wild flowers are in full bloom, and to avoid the fires that plague this area in the late summer months.

Stay Nearby

Camp Sherman, Oregon

Jack Creek Campground

Overview Jack Creek Campground sits on Jack Creek and is located near a chain of campgrounds one right after another that dot the nearby Metolius River.Recreation Hiking and fishing top the list of...

Sisters, Oregon

South Shore

Overview South Shore Campground is located along Suttle Lake, shaded by Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine. One section of the camp sits on the shoreline, while the other is nestled on a hillside.Most...

Sisters, Oregon

Big Lake West Campground

Overview Big Lake West Campground offers sites located on the shores of Big Lake, situated at the top of the Santiam Pass. Opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are numerous and range from off-highw...

Sisters, Oregon

Big Lake

Overview Big Lake Campground sits at its namesake lake along Santiam Pass, a 4,800-foot mountain pass through the Cascade Range in western Oregon.Campers enjoy views of the lake with the beautiful ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Backpack Three Fingered Jack

    Begin this 2-3 day backpacking trek at the Santiam Pass trailhead off Highway 20, 31 miles east of Detroit and 21 miles west of Sisters, Oregon. You can begin the loop either north on the PCT or East on trail #4014 towards Square Lake (as it is a ...

    20 miles 2600 ft gain

  • Backpack to Square and Booth Lakes

    This is an easy access, fairly short backpacking trip to a high mountain lake, which is good for kids. A super dusty, dry and smoke permeated trip to the base of Three Fingered Jack. Forest fires raging throughout the northwest poured smoke in to ...

    8 miles 240 ft gain

  • Run the Suttle Lake Loop

    Beginning at the Suttle Lake Lodge just off Highway 20, the Suttle Lake Loop follows a wide dirt path that circumnavigates the entire lake. Hug the lake whenever the trail opens up to camping areas or pavement - it's nearly impossible to become lo...

    3.6 miles 200 ft gain

  • Hike the West Metolius River Trail

    The West Metolius River trail is one of the finest river trails in Central Oregon due to its easy terrain, beautiful blue water, volcanic spring fed waterfalls, and forest views.  The hike starts just downstream from the Lower Canyon Creek Campgro...

    8 miles 280 ft gain