Over the 19 miles of scenic hiking to Eileen Lake and The Husband Lake you will gain nearly 2,000 feet of elevation. A majority of the work is done from the start, rising from the trailhead up into the volcanic lava flows above. While the early and somewhat strenuous climb offers few views aside from the dense forest, you are rewarded at higher elevation with constant views of the Three Sisters as well as the occasional sighting of Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, and Mount Jefferson.
Once you crest the lava flows below the Three Sisters, the hiking is for the most part flat or rolling terrain. There are numerous large, flat plains, clear streams, Obsidian Falls, obsidian rock fields, and abundant wildflowers on the way to these high-elevation lakes. Given the amount of streams and lakes, this area is also notorious for dense mosquitoes. With an early or late season trip you may be lucky enough to avoid the pesky insects.
When it comes to camping, there are multiple campsites at both Eileen Lakes and Husband Lake. There are also various sites along the trial if all sites near the lakes happen to be full. Keep in mind that campfires are not allowed within 100 feet of water or trail anywhere within the wilderness area. Also, the weather in the Three Sisters is generally mild over the summer months, with temperatures commonly in the 70s and 80s. Due to the elevation, you will likely find snow covering the higher trails well into July.
For the statistical and history buff, the Three Sisters Wilderness came to be thanks to the National Wilderness Preservation System with the Wilderness Act of 1964. This designated wilderness area covers 281,190 total acres, which is covered by nearly 260 miles of trails - including a 40-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Note: The Obsidian Limited Entry Area Permit is required for all day-hikes and overnight camping in the restricted area along with a NW Forest Pass. Contact the McKenzie River Ranger Station at 541.822.3381 for more information.