Sisters Travel Guide

  • Belknap Crater from atop Little Bellknap
    Belknap Crater from atop Little Bellknap
    by mtncorg
  • 'Gates' through lava fields on the PCT
    'Gates' through lava fields on the PCT
    by mtncorg
  • North Sister rises above Scott Trail and lava flow
    North Sister rises above Scott Trail and...
    by mtncorg

Sisters Things to Do

  • BETWEEN CHARITY AND FAITH

    .... there are the Chambers Lakes. Just west of Sisters off OR 242 - the McKenzie Pass highway - there is a road going off to Pole Creek Trailhead - Forest Highway 15. From the trailhead it is almost 7 miles to the first of the Chambers Lakes, Camp Lake. These lakes are a small group that lie in between South and the Middle-North Sister group. Camp...

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  • BELKNAP CRATER

    Another 500 feet of gain to the west side of where the way trail up Little Belknap takes off from the Pacific Crest Trail, is the cross country route taking you to the top of Belknap Crater - 6872 feet high. This is a larger and suprisingly newer crater than Little Belknap - Little Belknap is about a thousand years older. Unlike with Little...

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  • FOUR-IN-ONE CONE

    Four-In-One-Cone combines several interesting features into one fairly short walk. Historically, the route follows an old wagon route - the first across McKenzie Pass - which was established in 1862 by Captain Felix Scott. Walking through the rugged lava landscape, you can get a quick idea why the route never really caught on with the general...

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  • MCKENZIE PASS

    OR 242 is the most scenic highway in Oregon. It takes you from the depths of the McKenzie River valley up high across the lava landscapes below the north faces of the North and Middle Sister. The road is a slow one, twisting and turning on its west side to gain elevation, twisting and turning within the lava fields in an attempt to squeeze through...

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  • OBSIDIAN TRAIL

    Another very popular trail near McKenzie Pass is the Obsidian Trail. This trail leaves OR 242 6.2 miles west of the Pass from the Frog Camp/Obsidian trailhead, just a little further west than where the Scott trail heads east. This trail takes the hiker up into the flower-filled alpine wild gardens known as Sunshine. Because of the heavy use the...

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  • PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

    The Pacific Crest trail extends from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, through California, Oregon and Washington. The trail will take you to some of the most amazing natural wonders. The trail, in its entirety, is an extremely serious undertaking and will take you from March-April through September to finish. A few thousand people normally...

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  • VOLCANIC VIEWS

    To the north, off of either Belknap Crater or Little Belknap, Mt Washington is the next volcano in line, but Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson and even Mt Hood are not too far behind. The PCT which you walked up from the Pass below wanders around the base of all of these peaks. To say the view is amazing is quite the understatement.

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  • LITTLE BELKNAP CRATER

    A short five mile roundtrip hike takes you from the PCT trailhead, just west of the Dee Wright Observatory, to the top of Little Belknap Crater, the origin of much of the lava flows occupying the landscape on the north side of OR 242. You start off wandering around two tree islands that were spared from lava inundation but by one mile, you are...

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  • SISTERS VIEW from 4-IN-ONE-CONE

    One of the best places to photograph the two Sisters who share the closest affinity to one another - North and Middle - is from atop Four-In-One-Cone. The vast Collier Glacier fills the valley between the two Sisters - Collier is Oregon’s largest glacier. Closer views do exist for hikers. You can gain a nice viewpoint on the side of Collier Cone -...

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  • THE OTHER SISTERS FROM CAMP LAKE

    South Sister takes your breath away from the north shores of Camp Lake, but if you move around the lake, you will see the other Sisters poking their heads up too. Camp Lake is a common starting point for climbs of both South and Middle Sister. On the hike into Camp Lake, other routes veer off - not clearly visible to the hiker - towards Hayden...

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  • MAIN STREET SISTERS

    Main Street has restaurants, delis, a nice bakery and several shops. Main Street is US 20 and at times, the traffic can get a bit hectic. Townspeople know to take side streets. During a summer weekend, traffic can get ridiculous. Be careful of the Quilt Show weekend when thousands come to town. You won't be moving through Sisters quickly on those...

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  • FAITH AND HOPE

    The two northerly sisters stand close together, a bit away from their taller sibling. The three volcanoes - along with their older easterly lying cousin, Broken Top, make up the centerpiece of the vast Three Sisters Wilderness Area - a region as impressive as any National Park but without all of the hoopla. Middle and South Sister are fairly easy...

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  • CHARITY

    The Three Sisters were named for three 19th Century sisters by an ardent admirer. The sisters' names were: Charity, Faith and Hope and so it was the name for each of the mountains as well. Charity - or South Sister - sits off by herself to the south a bit from the others. At 10354 feet high, she is about 300 feet taller than her northerly siblings....

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  • BROKEN TOP

    Above the Broken Hand, the 9175 feet high Broken Top looms. There is no sound but the wind up here. If you are climbing Broken Top from this direction, I would think winter or spring to be the best option when the rotten rock is frozen. That would mean a long entry on skis - probably from the direction of Mt Bachelor to the south, for the road to...

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  • BROKEN HAND

    But to stop at the rim is to miss out on what lies ahead. A boot path continues through alpine meadows, dwarfed trees and ever increasing views of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. About halfway - maybe a mile - you come to a big red cinder cone, from atop which, the views are really starting to add up. You are atop a subsidiary ridge coming off...

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  • TAM MACARTHUR RIM

    Central Oregon is laid out before you from atop the 7730-foot high rim. Volcanoes punctuate the far horizons - from Broken Top to Mt Adams in Washington State. The rim drops away directly from the top, so. be careful wandering along the edge. On a sunny, warm weekday in October, the inclination is to stretch out in the sunshine and ponder the view.

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  • TAM MACARTHUR TRAIL

    Lewis 'Tam' MacArthur was chairman of the Oregon Geographic Names Board for much of the early part of the 20th Century. Such a position should garner some kind of benefit or memorial and it is this grand escarpment coming off the eastern ridges of Broken Top, just south of Sisters, that remembers Tam. The ridge towers over 1000 feet above Three...

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  • THREE CREEK LAKE

    Three Creek Lake, lying at 6550 feet high, sits below the Tam MacArthur Rim. It is a popular destination for campers with two campgrounds - Driftwood and Three Creek Lake - spread out along its banks. No motorized boats are allowed. There is an anchored swimming dock in the middle of the lake. There is also a seasonal small store along the east...

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Sisters Hotels

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Sisters Restaurants

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo

    by hindu1936 Written Jan 27, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Okay, so I admit it, I never have known the name of the place. It is on the west end of town, on the right, next to one service station and across from the other and kitty-corner from the road that leads to black rock ranch that motor homes are advised to avoid. It also serves great hamburgers, shakes, and other grill food. have eaten there off and on for 50 years. Even before it was what it is today it was a lunch counter. Pop and I used to go fishing at Silver Creek and Bend did not have a decent place to stop.

    Favorite Dish: It is justly famous--okay so it is not known in Paris, who cares what they think--for its wonderful, full flavored, homemade ice-cream and for me, the licorice shakes are only one step from whatever it was that made people kill to get a taste from the holy grail. Yes, the prices are high, it is always crowded and busy. How many people pay to go to the garbage dump and wait for the chance to see the trash? You get what you pay for and in this instance, it is good food, well cooked, and if you can keep from looking at the stressed out cook, the atmosphere is almost carnivale. After eating you can always head up the mountains to the south to some of the lakes, catch some fish, wrap them in butter, onions, tin foil and throw 'em into a fire until the foil is crinkly. nice after hamburger snack.

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Sisters Nightlife

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    A little scotch and cigar with the Middle Sister

    by mtncorg Written Aug 22, 2005

    Of course, the bar is up to what you can carry in. For a weekend or short trip, you can always get away with a bottle of wine. A longer trip, maybe you want to stick to the hip flask. And, of course, the traditional way to enjoy the view along with that scotch is a good cigar. Sit back and watch the mountains change in the evening sky and as the weather dictates.

    Dress Code: No coat or tie. Probably best if no jeans, as once wet, they tend to stay wet. Sneakers are fine, though I prefer Chaco sandals.

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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Sisters Warnings and Dangers

  • FOREST FIRE

    Thunderstorms can lead directly to forest fires. Be aware of forest conditions before going in. If conditions are dry, lightning strikes can quickly lead to bad case scenarios. In this case, a small fire had been started from the thunderstorm the day before. I watched a Forest Service smoke plane and another helicopter as they circled the small...

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  • WEATHER CHANGE

    Weather in the mountains can be very fickle. The Little Girl and I arrived at Camp Lake at about 2 pm with cloudless skies. Two hours later, it is raining and lightning is coming down. Two more hours and there is a beautiful sunset. Be prepared for the mountains.

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  • TRAIL SNOW

    The best time of year along the Rim is that of early to mid October - weekday - when the horses are in their pastures and the people back in their towns. By October, however, it is also a question of how much time remains before the hiking season is ended by the onset of winter. Again, as is the case of dust, a shorter ground clearance means...

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Sisters Off The Beaten Path

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Another 500 feet up and another lake!

    by mtncorg Written Aug 22, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are other lakes in the Chambers group once you reach Camp Lake. They require you to climb other one moraine or another. They are secreted away in the geologic complexity of the Three Sisters. The largest lake is Carver Lake which is almost due south of Camp Lake and another 800 feet higher. Another lake can be reached up the obvious path that ascends the moraine just to the west of Camp Lake. Climb up the moraine and wander the bench above and you will see yet another lake to the southwest. Pass far enough and you will eventually meet the Pacific Crest Trail, though you still will have to come back.

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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TRAIL DUST
Warnings and Dangers
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