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Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes

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  • View looking northwest from Tam McArthur Rim with Little Three Creek Lake at right.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Tam McArthur Rim.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • View from Tam McArthur Rim toward Broken Top (9,177') and South Sister (10,358').- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Paintbrush (Castilleja).- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Traverse across Broken Top's Bend Glacier on the eroded volcano's northern slope.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • View looking west toward the Three Sisters from Broken Top's north flank.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • View looking northwest toward the North Sister (10,085').- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • The Three Sisters across an unnamed lake.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • View across an unnamed lake toward the North Sister (10,085').- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus).- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Backcountry campsite location.  Looking east toward Broken Top's summit (9,177').- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Pink mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis).- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • - Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • A good morning welcome from South Sister.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Looking southwest at Green Lakes from Broken Top's northern ridge.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • South Sister (10,358') and Green Lakes.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Magenta paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) along Fall Creek.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Wildflower meadow near Sparks Lake.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
  • Alpine shooting star (Dodecatheon alpinum) along Fall Creek near the Green Lakes Trailhead.- Tam McArthur Rim to Green Lakes
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Traverse over incredible subalpine region.
Cons: 
Shuttle transportation required.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,760.00 ft (841.25 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
10.80 mi (17.38 km)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,440.00 ft (1,658.11 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Though it can be a bit of a hassle to arrange a shuttle, this multi-day hike through the alpine lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness completely justifies the effort. This unconventional route leaves from the Three Creek Lake trailhead and finishes at the Green Lakes or Fall Creek Trailhead at the northern end of Sparks Lake. The shuttle between the trailheads will take almost two hours.

Your first spectacular views will be at Tam McArthur Rim, where you can see as far north as Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood, as well as Oregon's high desert to the east. Follow the trail west to Broken Hand, and cross Broken Top Crater and Bend Glacier on the northern slopes of Broken Top. Opportunities for camping and water filtration will open up beyond this point. Consider a stay at Tarns, Golden Lake or one of the four ponds nestled at the base of Broken Top's northwest ridge. From here it is an easy hike west to the Green Lakes Trail. Before heading to Green Lakes, however, consider stashing some weight for the 2,000-foot climb to Broken Top's summit, a vantage point that offers some of the most rewarding views in the state.

A night at Green Lakes is a good transition back into civilization, as the area is one of the more heavily used places in the entire wilderness, but the size and setting of the three lakes make them worthy of an overnight stay despite their popularity.

Before taking the trail back along Fall Creek, consider a detour to Moraine Lake, or take a longer and more scenic route back to the trailhead via the trail to Cayuse Crater, where more impressive views of the South Sister will unfold. This alternate route past Cayuse Crater leads back to the Fall Creek trailhead via Soda Creek.

Note: Be prepared for mosquitos near the lakes.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(61 within a 30 mile radius)

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