Canyon Creek Meadows

Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, Oregon

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Canyon Creek Meadows

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  • Early morning on Jack Lake. Three Fingered Jack (7,844 ft) in the distance.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Mule deer along the trail.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Entry into the meadows.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Junction signage at the loop trail and the unmaintained trail to the upper meadow, tarn, and saddle.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The unmaintained trail to the upper meadow, tarn and saddle.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Due to high usage, there are a few site restoration areas in the meadows.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Trail through a meadow heading toward the upper meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Backcountry campsite just above the trail.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • A view of Three Fingered Jack heading toward the tarn.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • A sampling of the wildflowers to be found along the trail.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Three Fingered Jack's dramatic east face.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The glacier tarn.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The glacier tarn with Mount Jefferson (10,495 ft) in the background.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • View north from the saddle toward the meadows.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The paths up to the saddle.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Huckleberries in bloom on the upper plateau.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Carpets of white and pink flowers buzzing with activity.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • View of Three Fingered Jack from the upper meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Three Fingered Jack.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Canyon Creek flowing through the upper meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Typical backcountry campsite to be found in the meadows.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Chamerion angustifolium, also known as fireweed, has taken root in an old burned stump.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • - Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Junction sign for the spur off to Wasco Lake.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Trail to Wasco Lake.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • - Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Wasco Lake.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • View of Three Fingered Jack (7,844 ft) from the shores of Wasco Lake.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Wasco Lake and Three Fingered Jack as seen from the Pacific Crest Trail.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Dusk on the shores of Jack Lake with Three Fingered Jack.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Three Fingered Jack from Canyon Creek Meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The high meadows just below timberline.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The creek meanders through the verdant meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Trail junction to the canyon creek meadows. A campsite lies along the trail here.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Western Anemone seed head (Anemone occidentalis).- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Looking up the trail to the tarn. - Canyon Creek Meadows
  • The magenta flower is mountain paintbrush (castilleja parviflora), and the yellow flower is some sort of groundsel (packera).- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Wasco Lake makes for a wonderful rest spot.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Mountain goats! - Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Not a bad view to wake up to.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Looking out onto Wasco Lake with Three Fingered Jack in the distance. Warning: Mosquitoes are thick here this time of year.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Canyon Creek in the shadow of the of Three Fingered Jack.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Indian paintbrush dot the lush greenery in the the upper meadow.- Canyon Creek Meadows
  • Lupin in Canyon Creek Meadows.- Canyon Creek Meadows
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflower meadows. Epic views of Three Fingered Jack.
Cons: 
Can be very crowded during the summer. Road to the trailhead can be overgrown and narrow.
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Alerts: 
August, 2017: The expanding Whitewater Fire has caused the Forest Service to close significant portions of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness at least through August 21, the day of the solar eclipse. The closures may expand, and they may extend beyond August 21. More information can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd553952.pdf https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420/
Region:
Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Horseback
Total Distance: 
0.00 mi (0.00 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,041.00 ft (1,536.50 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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Canyon Creek Meadows is a beautiful, moderate hike through alpine forest into spectacular wildflower meadows at the base of the craggy and colorful Three Fingered Jack. This is a very popular route, and for good reason. The 7-mile loop starts at Jack Lake after a rough drive up to the trailhead, and it gradually climbs out of the 2003 B&B Complex burn area into an old alpine forest and stream fed meadows. The distance from the trailhead to the meadows is short, and one can either turn around and head back or continue the loop around Jack Lake.  If you plan to make the loop, Forest rangers request that you follow a clockwise path around the loop.

For those who don’t mind a scramble, follow the “non-maintained” trail to the upper meadow and hike up to the glacier tarn. This beautiful, turquoise-blue tarn is fully exposed by mid to late August. From this point, you have views north to the upper meadow and Mount Jefferson in the distance. If you’d like more elevation gain, continue the scramble up to the saddle where you will be up close with Three Fingered Jack’s sheer and jagged east face. Once on the saddle, you will have a view south to Mount Washington, Three Sisters, and Broken Top.

The best time to visit these meadows is in July, when the wildflowers take center stage. Permits are required to camp in this area, however. Due to overuse and inconsiderate visitors, the area needs rehabilitation. The Forest Service has posted signage in the most damaged areas. Please read the literature at the trailhead and abide by the guidelines. This will help ensure the place stays beautiful for the next generation of visitors.

If you need to cool off during a hot summer’s day, hike the 0.7-mile spur to Wasco Lake for a swim. The area around the lake was burned as part of the same B&B Complex fire, but there are a few pockets of trees and campsites around the lake.

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