Three Fingered Jack Loop via Canyon Glacier Trail #4010 and Summit Lake Trail #4014
The Canyon Glacier Trail, by itself, is a spectacular, family friendly loop with some elevation but not much. It passes over several small streams before returning via Canyon Creek. In the right season, wildflowers are abundant and make this simple loop worth the drive to Jack Lake. The optional out-and-back trail to a peak on Three Fingered Jack is what gives the views and the trip rating of difficult. This part of the trail can be hard to find. It initially is clearly marked as it heads into the forest, but it falls apart once it leaves treeline and enters a rocky boulder field. It appears to immediately turn uphill and travel through the rocks, and most hikers follow the trail this way until the boulder field gets steeper and the trail falls apart. At this point hikers need to look to their right, cross a glacial field that retains snow all summer, and join the real trail on a narrow ridge. Hikers in the know should look for ways to cross to the right and join this main trail earlier, before the snow field. Near the top the trail falls apart once again, but at this point, any scramble through the rocks to reach the multiple open areas near the top are good enough. Hikers can explore multiple grassy areas with abundant wildflowers just under the rocky spires of the fingers and have terrific views of the area. Mountain goats love the spires that are too steep for non-technical climbers, so bring binoculars. Return the way you came, but be careful to look for the main path that you came on to your left near the bottom; following the descending path without crossing over the boulder field leads to a very steep and rather dangerous descent, although this eventually does join the main Canyon Creek Trail if you miss the crossing.