When: 6/14/2018
Location: Three Fingered Jack Loop
Conditions: Sunny and in the 60's. A lot of snow in low sun areas (trees, certain mountain aspects)
Duration: 2 days 1 night
Difficulty: Moderate if the trail is clear. Becomes quite difficult with snow involved.
Kid Friendly: Yes
Pet Friendly: Yes
Usefull links: www.alltrails.com

Three Fingered Jack Loop

The Full Report:
*This loop can also be completed starting from the Canyon Creek Meadows Trailhead- further down on Hwy 20, then via unpaved Jack Lake Rd. In the early season, a day hike to Wasco lake or further lakes off the loop is ideal, as you will avoid most or all of any lingering springtime snow.

Three Fingered Jack Loop

We arrived in the early afternoon at the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) access trailhead off Interstate 20 and set out for the Loop around Three Fingered Jack in a clockwise direction, following the PCT. The first 10-11 miles or so are along the PCT, with most elevation gain you’ll encounter during the first day starting from the trailhead up to the ridgeline that the PCT will then loosely follow through a mostly wooded area until it comes out into the massive North West face of Three Fingered Jack. This is a spectacular spot for a break and great place to take in the beauty of the mountain. (This was also our only water stop for the day, which came from snowmelt off the face of the mountain. In later season the snow may be nonexistent, so carrying extra water through here is advised).
From here you will then begin a relatively mellow descent towards Wasco lake. There are a handful of campsites off the side of the PCT during the descent, but the flattest and best for water access will be at the Lake itself where there is a multitude of campsites.

Three Fingered Jack Loop

*Note: The trail as we hiked it was very different than most will experience. Because of the time of the year we attempted this hike, almost the entirety of the trail on the western side of the mountain was snow covered, causing us to have to take special precautions while crossing steep areas as well as large snow bridges in between tree wells in the forest. If you’re doing this trail in early season trekking poles are a must, with waterproof boots and microspikes recommended. As well as a good sense of direction, map, compass, and GPS to ensure you’re still on the right track.

Three Fingered Jack Loop

On day two we rose as the sun hit the tent and packed up. Our campsite above Wasco lake gave some respite from the bugs the night before and the morning of, but upon getting to Wasco lake to refill our water we were rushing to vacate the area due to so many mosquitos. From Wasco lake, the trail takes you through a short, flat wooded areas before hitting a stream crossing with a small waterfall nearby. From this point on the rest of the second day was through a large burn-out zone. This gave us relief from the early morning mosquito onslaught, but also meant we had to deal with direct sunlight all day. Luckily for us, the lack of trees also meant there was no snow on the trail, and the day of mellow rolling ups and downs with constant sweeping views treated us well. Near midafternoon we were back at the car and headed back to Portland.

Three Fingered Jack Loop

This hike is a perfect 2-3 day weekend backpacking trip. With ideal trail conditions there isn’t any especially difficult terrain or substantial elevation gain or loss, and the trail is graded well and easy to follow. (Although nearly impossible to exactly follow with snow cover).

Three Fingered Jack Loop