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Obsidian Trail Hike

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Obsidian Trail Hike

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  • Snow on the trail within a mile of the trailhead.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • After the Obsidian Trail leaves the dense forest it emerges into lava flows.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Mountain views appear after the first few miles on the trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • The Obsidian Trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Early season snow on the trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • - Obsidian Trail Hike
  • This shale looks like it could break with the slightest amount of weight.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Lupin on the Obsidian Trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Stream along the Obsidian Trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Obsidian Falls.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Wildflowers are just starting to emerge in July. August is the peak time for wildflowers in this area.- Obsidian Trail Hike
  • - Obsidian Trail Hike
  • - Obsidian Trail Hike
  • - Obsidian Trail Hike
  • Beargrass on the Obsidian Trail.- Obsidian Trail Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Varied terrain throughout. Overnight camping options.
Cons: 
Crowds in this high-use area. Permits are limited for even day hikes.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
14.40 mi (23.17 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,600.00 ft (1,402.08 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Obsidian Trail provides an excellent perspective on the many facets of this unique Cascade environment, from dense forests to rugged mountain views, gentle streams to open meadows, lava flows to obsidian cliffs. These cliffs were popular with Native Americans who used the obsidian to craft tools. The area is only accessible once the seasonal snowpack on Highway 242 clears, and you will see snowpack on the trail well into July. August is a popular time of year as the meadows are full of wildflowers.

The trail can be done in a day or broken up into several days according to your time frame. The trail connects with the Pacific Crest Trail just after Obsidian Falls, and from there you can take trails to any of the Sisters or to Collier Cone and the Collier Glacier. The Obsidian Trail generally doesn't provide the sweeping Cascade views you may expect from the area, but getting to higher elevations is easy from the falls.

The Obsidian Trail is one of the more heavily used trails in the Sisters area. This area requires a permit for overnight or day use adventures, and it is best to plan early in the season and to get a permit when they first become available. Permits for the entire summer are available beginning at 7 a.m. on May 1 via the recreation.gov website or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Because permits are issued to a limited number of groups each day, summer weekends fill fast. Also note that wilderness rangers strictly enforce a total ban on campfires and that tents are prohibited within 100 feet of trails or water.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(60 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(143 within a 30 mile radius)

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