Three Fingers/South Peak

A strenuous hike and scramble to a historical lookout in the North Cascades off the Mountain Loop Highway.

Getting There

Drive the Mountain Loop Highway to Milepost 7 at the top of the hill and look for two large telephone poles set close together on the left. These mark the turn onto Forest Road 41. Three roads leave the at this point, but two are private, you'll want to stay on the main road that heads uphill it is the one furthest east. The sign confirming you are on 41 is about 100 feet down the road. Stay left as you pass several roads. Turn right onto Forest Road 4160. At about 17.5 miles is the Goat Flats Trailhead.

approach & Ascent

NOTE: The bridge across South Fork Canyon Creek on the road to the trailhead is washed out. This adds ~16 miles and 1,400 feet of elevation gain round trip of hiking or biking to the trip.

Follow the Goats Flat trail to Tin Can Gap at 5,700 ft.  There may be snow from here:

If snow free follow trail all the way to summit. The last 0.5 mi is usually a low incline snow field. The only vague point may at the summit block until the ladder can be seen. Stay left (west side) on summit rocks until the trail is obvious again. Climb the ladders to the summit.

If snow is present turn right and stay high on ridge (on north side) traversing past two high points. Then drop sharply (~100 ft) down to saddle. Cross to south side of ridge and go around the South Buttress then angle north and up to the summit. Climb the ladders to the summit.


  • There may be snow after Tin Can Gap until late in the season, crampons and ice axe are recommended. 
  • There are ladders for the last bit of scrambling to the lookout.
  • The Mountaineers often have stewardship trips to help maintain this lookout.
  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 4, Technical 5
  • Length: 16.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,400 ft
  • 6,857 ft
  • USGS Whitehorse
  • USGS Meadow Mountain
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