Broken Top Traverse

Three Sisters Wilderness

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Broken Top Traverse


  • Beginning the traverse at Three Creeks Lake.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Easy skinning along Tam McArthur Rim.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Bring a dog to pack the beer in.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Views of the traverse from Tam McArthur Rim.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Views of Mount Bachelor in the distance.- Broken Top Traverse
  • It's easy to cover ground on skis.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Checking the map to stay on course.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Spring corn off of Broken Top.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Transitioning under Broken Top.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Sunset over Middle and North Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Dry patches can provide a comfortable camp.- Broken Top Traverse
  • First views of the Green Lakes area and South Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Navigating the frozen Green Lakes.- Broken Top Traverse
  • South Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Going out for some sunset turns on South Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Chasing shadows on South Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • A clear night over Green Lake.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Foggy morning at Green Lakes.- Broken Top Traverse
  • The South Sister.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Broken Top Traverse.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Following Fall Creek Trail south. - Broken Top Traverse
  • Navigating gets tricky below tree line.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Reaching the Green Lakes Trailhead.- Broken Top Traverse
  • Aerial of Broken Top and Three Sisters Wilderness.- Broken Top Traverse
Overview + Weather
Great views. Solitude. Good spring skiing.
Central Oregon, OR
Max slope angle: 
30-45 degrees
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,500.00 ft (1,981.20 m)
Vertical descent: 
2,441.00 ft (744.02 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


The Broken Top Traverse is a great way to experience backcountry skiing in the Three Sisters Wilderness. It's best done in the spring (late May through June) when the roads are open to Three Creeks Lake and Cascade Lakes Highway. The Traverse requires a car shuttle, since it's usually done as a one-way trip. 

The traverse can be done from either the Pole Creek Trailhead or Three Creek Lake Campground; this adventure features the route leading from the Three Creek Campground to the Fall Creek Trail (Green Lakes) Trailhead to the south. 

Begin the trip by gaining Tam McArhur Rim and following the rim west and then southwest until it connects with Broken Top. From here, go west of Broken Top and descend the prominent ridge that drops down into Green Lakes. The potential of running water and access to great skiing makes Green Lakes an excellent choice to overnight. Running water isn't a guarantee along the traverse, so be sure to bring plenty of fuel for melting snow.  

There is some amazing skiing to be had along the route. You can quickly cover ground on skis, leaving you with plenty of time to explore the slopes on Broken Top and South Sister.

The trip could be done in a day, but plan on two to three days to truly enjoy the experience. Also, the trip is generally done north to south to maximize the descent.


Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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(63 within a 30 mile radius)

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(148 within a 30 mile radius)

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