The Three Sisters Wilderness is the second largest wilderness area in Oregon, and one of the most popular.* The North, Middle, and South Sisters give the wilderness area its name, but the area also includes Broken Top and several incredible alpine lakes (beware of mosquitos in June and July). Approximately 240 miles of trails provide ample opportunity for hiking, camping, backpacking and mountaineering. Throughout the wilderness you'll see stunning examples of the volcanic and glacial activity that has shaped the ridges, water flows, lakes and alpine meadows of the Central Oregon Cascades. Hikers in the summer are likely to see colorful and diverse flora, not to mention geological wonders such as obsidian. This shiny, black volcanic glass was formed by rapidly cooling lava, and its presence in the eastern regions of the country suggests that early native traders capitalized on its value. Today visitors can explore the Obsidian Area with a permit from the McKenzie or Sisters Ranger Stations.
Planning a trip in such a large area can be challenging, so we have broken it into five regions for simplification:
* The Eagle Cap Wilderness is Oregon’s largest at 361,446 acres.
** The Old McKenzie Highway/Highway 242 and the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway are only open during the summer months, typically from late June to early November. Visit ODOT for highway updates.