Backpacking to Canyon Creek Meadow, Oregon

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  • Distance: 7 miles, round trip (lollipop loop)

  • Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

  • Difficulty: easy/moderate

  • Solitude: moderate amount of people, not crowded for camping

  • Passes: PNW Forest Pass

  • Bathrooms: yes, pit toilet at parking lot

  • Dogs: yes, on leash

  • Other: bring sunscreen & bug spray, bring warm clothes for nighttime- even during the middle of the summer

Looking back at these pictures and all I can think is, wow, what a weekend! Canyon Creek Meadows sits underneath the peak of Three Fingered Jack in Jefferson National Forest. During the summer you can find all different kinds of wild flowers blooming, mountain goats roaming the rocky slopes, and cold glacier streams winding across the green expanse. If you’re lucky and have clear skies, the sunrises and sunsets will cast the peaks above in a beautiful orange alpine glow. It’s a magical place.

We arrived at the trailhead around 1:30pm on a Saturday afternoon in July. There were a bunch of cars, but by 1:30pm a lot of day hikers were beginning to leave and we found a spot easily. We started our hike into the meadow by following the Canyon Glacier Trail #4010 (for more instructions go here). We passed a few groups of people but because they ask you to hike the loop one-way, we really didn’t run into that many hikers.

When we reached the meadow we found a spot to set up camp at an already established camping area. You’ll know the designated areas by the cleared ground cover. Please respect the restoration signs and do not camp in those areas :)

For the rest of the afternoon we lazily set up camp, listened to music, hiked up to the glacier lake, took pictures and just enjoyed our surroundings. Mountain goats were grazing on the slopes above us and from time to time we’d check to see where they wandered off to. After the sun set the temperatures dropped and we stayed wrapped up in sleeping bags and puffy jackets. We got lucky and it was a totally clear night so the stars were out in full force!

I highly recommend this backpacking trip and it would make a fantastic trip for a first timer! If you go in the summer just be sure to bring sunscreen as there are a lot of burnt, open areas (not to mention you camp in the middle of an open meadow) and when there isn’t a good breeze there are definitely mosquitoes.

Happy trails!