The flow past a triangular cylinder is one of the fundamental flows and widely utilized in flame stabilization and heat transfer. In this study, the near wake and vortex characteristics of the flow past an equilateral triangular cylinder are experimentally measured by a high frequency particle image velocimetry (PIV) system at 3 kHz. The triangular cylinder is installed in a wind tunnel with Reynolds numbers ranging from 10,700 to 17,700. The Reynolds-averaged and phase-averaged methods are utilized to analyze the flow field. Based on the flow fields, the length of the vortex formation region is about 1.5 times of the length of the equilateral triangle side. The residence time of a vortex in the vortex formation region is equal to a vortex shedding period. The stream wise velocity of the vortex core center downstream the vortex formation is about 0.8 times of the freestream velocity, which is slightly larger than the value about 0.7 for the flow past a circular cylinder at the same Reynolds number. The maximum tangential velocity at the periphery of the vortex core maybe occurs slightly in advance of the vortex reaching the boundary of the vortex formation region. The normalized lengths of the recirculation zone of the triangular cylinder keep nearly unchanged and are about 1.55 to 1.9 times of those of the circular cylinder at the same Reynolds number. The normalized normal wise instead of stream wise turbulence intensity has stronger effects on the distribution of the normalized turbulent kinetic energy.