Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Square Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Your destination is this desolate lake with a view of Three Fingered Jack(Jamey Pyles)
  • Start point: Santiam Pass TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Square Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: out and back
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer and fall: could easily be a good snowshoe in winter
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

This is an easy hike that tours around an area that was burnt by the 2003 B&B fire and in 2 easy miles leads to an almost eery-quiet lake with a view of Three Fingered Jack.

The trail starts out at the Santiam Pass Trailhead- a well used access point for the PCT just 20 miles out of the town of Sisters. The trail starts at the east end of the parking lot. After filling out a free self-issue wilderness permit you will hike a few hundred feet and turn left (north) onto the PCT. After 0.2 miles you will reach the junction with Summit Lake Trail #4014 on the right. Turn right and follow it through the burnt forest 2 miles til you see Square Lake.

To get the view of Three fingered Jack, you will want to be on the side of the lake that you see first (south side). There should be an unmarked junction with a spur trail heading down there. If it seems like you missed it, the terrain is super easy for cross country travel. There is a campsite here with a great firepit making this a great destination for backpacking with young children. The more adventurous might enjoy the view from the top of the butte to the southwest, there are no trails but you can scramble up the side (class 3-4). Return the way you came or if you had a shuttle arranged you could keep going another 2 miles to Round Lake.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Adventure Maps: Mount Jefferson, Bull of the Woods & Opal Creek Wilderness Trail Map

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • $5 parking fee or Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass)
  • Central Cascades Wilderness Permit for overnight stays required ($6 reservation fee: Friday prior to Memorial Day through last Friday in September)
  • A wilderness self-issue permit (available at trailhead) is required.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.