The South Sister is a spectacular introduction to non-technical mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. The trail up ascends through a dense hemlock forest before emerging into mixed alpine terrain and red cinder scree fields. Throughout the course of the route you'll catch breathtaking views of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top and the Cascade Range. The trail skirts the edge of the crater rim and curves around Teardrop Lake, the highest lake in Oregon, eventually arriving at the summit. From here you'll see the neighboring Middle and North Sisters, and on a clear day you'll have no trouble seeing Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and Black Butte.
For climbers eager to get an early morning start, the Devils Lake trailhead offers nine campsites at no additional charge on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also soothe your feet in the chilly lake water after a long day of hiking. No matter what time of year you go, always remember to bring sunscreen and the essential mountaineering gear.