High Cascades Hiking Mt. Jefferson Area Oregon Trip report

Canyon Creek Meadows

Canyon Creek Meadows had been a monkey on our backs, or is it packs for hikers? We had tried several times in the past two years to get this hike in and either snow or forest fires forced us to change our plans. We had put it back on our schedule for August 2nd this year hoping this year would be different. Thanks to a very helpful trip report on 7/26 by pdxgene via we learned that the meadows were not only snow free but the flowers were in bloom. We were now in danger of being too late for the full flower display so we moved the hike up in the rotation and off we went.

It was a beautiful morning at the Jack Lake trail head and after a minor detour around the wrong side of the lake we were headed for the lower Canyon Creek meadow. The trail alternated between burned and unburned forest as it climbed to the first meadow. The flowers here were still in bloom despite some already feeling the effects of a warm and dry late Spring and early Summer.
Beyond the meadow Three Fingered Jack filled the horizon beneath a blue sky.

As we continued on toward the upper meadow the views of the mountain got better and better. A near full moon hovered above the summit all morning shifting positions as time passed. We skirted the edge of the upper meadow and headed up toward a saddle with a view of a cirque lake below a glacier on the flank of Three Fingered Jack. The path was steep with a lot of loose rock but the views were more than worth it, and a healthy wind quickly cooled us off on top of the saddle.

Looking south from the saddle
Looking south from the saddle

We had some food and explored the ridge along the saddle where we found a less steep trail down from the east. In the post on portlandhikers Gene had mentioned that after 12:00 the shadows from the mountain causes issues with picture quality from the upper meadow so we wanted to get back down before we ran out of time. Canyon Creek flows out of the cirque lake through the upper meadow creating a wonderful wildflower display. The lupine was especially thick here.

After exploring the upper meadow we followed Canyon Creek down to the lower meadow and began the loop back to the car. (To help control the foot traffic on this popular hike there is a loop that you are asked to hike in a clockwise direction.) Before we got back we took a short side trip to Wasco Lake for no particular reason. It was pretty and quite but we were ready to get back to the car so we took a quick break and finished the hike and removed the monkey from our packs. Happy Trails.

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