Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail

Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area, Oregon

Elevation Gain615ft
Trailhead Elevation6,279ft
Elevation Min/Max6279/6833ft
Elevation Start/End6279/6279ft

Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail

Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail is a hiking trail in Linn County and Jefferson County, Oregon. It is within Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. It is 0.4 miles long and begins at 6,279 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 615 feet. This trail connects with the following: Pacific Crest Trail 2000.

Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail 2000 through a pristine forest of fragrant Douglas and alpine fir, blue spruce, and mountain hemlock to the base of 7,841-foot Three Fingered Jack, an eroded remnant of an ancient volcanic plug. The plug itself is impressive; if you have climbing experience and the appropriate gear, you may be tempted to continue up its south ridge to the summit.

The ragged spires of Three Fingered Jack—named in honor of Joaquin Murietta, an aspiring gold rusher with a mutilated, three-fingered hand—rise abruptly out of central Oregon’s Mount Jefferson Wilderness to form a geologic slice of time. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the mountain—formed by hot basaltic lava flows—resembled a broad, dome-shaped cone. Today the formation is what geologists call a shield volcano. To view this decaying volcano for yourself, walk to its base on the Pacific Crest Trail 2000. The trail, which tends to be very dusty because of the area’s soft volcanic soil, starts out fairly gently as it passes through a forest of Douglas and alpine fir, blue spruce, and mountain hemlock."

"Three Fingered Jack is as gnarly as his name sounds—jagged, rough around the edges, and frankly a little unstable. Due to its eroding structure, summiting Three Fingered Jack is a tricky technical climb, requiring significant mountaineering expertise and equipment. So for hiking purposes, this precarious Cascade peak is best viewed from a bit of a distance."

"Three Fingered Jack is a remote and rugged tour."

"Three Fingered Jack is among the oldest high volcanoes in the Cascades. The complex internal structure of the now dormant volcano, along with the ravages of erosion by former glaciers, have combined to form the rugged summit of Three Fingered Jack. The mountain is believed to have undergone three distinguishable volcanic building phases, culminating in a basaltic intrusion into a softer andesite cone.

Over the epochs, glaciation has worn away the softer material, leaving only the erosion-resistant core. Mount Thielson and nearby Mount Washington share a similar geologic history. Like Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack boasts some very poor rock. So lowly-regarded is the rock on Three Fingered Jack that the summit pinnacle is said to vibrate in high winds!"

"A jagged sentinel for much of the central Oregon Cascades, Three Fingered Jack is all that remains of an extinct volcano that has eroded away, leaving only the hard central plug of lava. Scenic trails go almost all the way around the mountain, offering excellent views, visiting small lakes, and taking the hiker through some of the best wildflower fields in Oregon. Part of the recommended loop involves some easy cross-country travel, but that should not deter experienced hikers. Literalists beware, however, because despite the mountain’s name, even after walking the entire loop and seeing the peak from every angle, it is hard to figure out from just where it supposedly has three “fingers.” Actually the name’s origin is unknown and may refer to an early trapper with somewhat fewer than the usual number of digits."

Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail Reviews

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Never climbed to the top, but took the PCT right by it. Trail up starts at the south side of the PCT. May have to hit it next time around. Beautiful scenery!

Three Finger Jack Climbers Trail Photos

Trail Information

Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area
Deschutes National Forest, Sisters Ranger District
Local Contacts
Green Trails No. 589 Three Fingered Jack, No. 557 Mount Jefferson
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018