circumnavigate three fingered jack

Mar 5, 2021 | Hiking, Oregon, Sisters, OR

Land acknowledgement:

Ancestral land of the Molala, now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde

At a Glance

22 miles, 2600 feet of elevation gain (approx)
FKT Information
Entry point: Pacific Crest Trail, Santiam Pass Trailhead
Entry also possible from Round Lake Trailhead and Jack Lake Trailhead

Other Adventure options

Mellow: Hike to Square Lake and look for mountain bluebirds and wildflowers or hike Canyon Creek Meadow from Jack Lake. This is a popular option for families but there will be bigger crowds.

Balanced: Several camping spots available to stretch this trip out for backpacking. Please note, a Central Cascades permit will be required beginning in 2021 or an out and back to the Porcupine Rock viewpoint

Brutal: Add in the 18 mile out and back to Mt Washington south on the Pacific Crest Trail to graze two volcanic peaks. You can also summit Three Fingered Jack depending on your climbing ability. This is not an easy climb – details here.

Need to Know

Parking pass required: Northwest Forest Pass

Overnight camping permit required: Central Cascades

Day permits: Self issued wilderness permit (fill out at wilderness entry point). Entry from Jack Lake or Duffy Lake will require a Central Cascades day permit.

Water: Limited sources on PCT portion of the hike. Plan on carrying sufficient water as this is a hot, exposed hike in summer weather.

Nearest Campgrounds: Big Lake, Jack Creek

Adventure Overview

Please: Always remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles when recreating on public land. Our actions not only impact the land; they influence others to better care for these lands when we lead by example. Please see additional route cautions at the bottom of this page.

The Three Fingered Jack circumnavigation is a classic, challenging route through Oregon’s volcanic country. The route can be hiked clockwise or counterclockwise. The west side has few water sources but fairly good tree cover, while the east side has more options for water but is open and exposed from wildfire. Shorter day trip options are available, and there are good camping spots if you wish to extend your adventure.

Overnight stays in this area will require permits between the end of May and late September (please check for details). Day trips do require free day use permits (filled out at the wilderness entry point).

Terms of Use: As with each adventure guide published on, should you choose to use this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While using, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed., its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual users hiking or following this route.

About The Author

About The Author

Teri Smith is starting her third act as a photographer, writer and adventure seeker in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more here.