Hike: Canyon Creek Meadows

View of Three Fingered Jack & glacial lake at the hike “summit.”

This past weekend, we wanted to get out of town for a day hike. But, it was a holiday weekend (4th of July), so we knew we’d have to get a bit further out of the city to avoid the crowds. Canyon Creek Meadows is about a 3 hour drive from Portland, loosely in Central Oregon. Neither of us had done this hike before & I was happily surprised by the many wildflowers in bloom – especially the abundant valerian. I just noticed the wildflower link on the OR Hike website – it’s a pretty stellar list of what’s currently in flower. The forest has burned in the last decade, making for a stark contrast of bone-white, standing dead trees. Overall, the terrain is easy with few steep descends/ascends. We did climb up to the edge/summit to get as close as we could to Three Fingered Jack and view the glacial lake. There was plenty of snow & wind at this short section of the hike.

Once you descend from the summit and thru the upper & lower meadows, you can follow the loop to the waterfalls, then back to the car lot. 7.5 miles for the whole hike & on our way back to Portland in 5 hours.


Happy valerian!
Hellebore – extremely poisonous if even a little is ingested. A good plant to know.

++ Plant List ++


Lily family identifiers: petals & leaves in multiples of three. Parallel venation on leaves.

  • Beargrass | Xerophyllum tenax
  • Subalpine Mariposa Lily | Calochortus subalpinus
  • Hellebore (not in flower) | Veratrum viride


Buttercup family identifiers: Three pistils with hooked tips. I generally think buttercups have no patterns. Botany in a Day elegantly states “The Buttercups are considered very ‘simple’ because the floral parts [..] are all of an indefinite number and seperate from one another.”

  • Broad-leaved marsh marigold | Caltha biflora
  • Menzies’ Larkspur | Delphinium menziesii


  • Valerian | Valerian sitchensis (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Common Red Paintbrush | Castillija miniata (Figwort)
  • Subalpine Daisy | Erigeron penegrinas (Asteraceae)
  • Stream Violet | Viola glabella  (Violet)
  • Rocketships | Primula jeffreyi (Primulaceae)

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