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Three Sisters Wilderness

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Three Sisters Wilderness

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  • Aerial photo of the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Left to right: Broken Top (9,177'), South Sister (10,358'), Middle Sister (10,047') and North Sister (10,085').- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Looking south at the North Sister (10,085') and the Middle Sister (10,047') from Santiam Pass.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The Three Sisters and Broken Top (9,177') from Tumalo Mountain.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The South Sister (10,358') from the Moraine Lake Trail.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The South Sister (10,358') and Moraine Lake.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Alpine shooting star (Dodecatheon alpinum) along Fall Creek.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Wildflowers along the trail to Broken Top Crater.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Broken Top Crater.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The Three Sisters from Broken Top Crater.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The Three Sisters and Broken Top from the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway near Mount Bachelor.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • View looking south from the South Sister's southern aspect.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • From the South Sister's summit, looking north toward the Middle Sister (10,047'), the North Sister (10,085'), Mount Jefferson (10,495') and Mount Hood (11,250').- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The trail near Green Lakes.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • A field of lupine above Green Lakes.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Green Lakes and the South Sister.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • View looking up Broken Top's northeastern ridge.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • View of Green Lakes and Three Sisters from Broken Top's summit.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • The South Sister (10,358') from Sparks Lake. Sparks Lake is not currently protected by the Wilderness designation.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Night sky from Green Lakes.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • South Sister (10,358 ft.) from Green Lakes.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Three Sisters scale comparison.- Three Sisters Wilderness
  • Three Sisters scale comparison with Mount Hood.- Three Sisters Wilderness
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Three volcanos over 10,000 feet. 260 miles of trails. 40 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Cons: 
Mosquitos in the southern lakes area. Heavy use in the Green Lakes area.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
NW Forest Pass
Picnic Tables: 
No
Area: 
286,708.00 acres (116,027.00 hectares)
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Partly cloudy in the morning.
54°F
39°

Wed

Clear throughout the day.
61°F
43°

Thu

Partly cloudy overnight.
61°F
45°

Fri

Light rain starting in the afternoon.
46°F
34°

Sat

Snow (1–2 in.) throughout the day.
33°F
27°

Sun

Mixed precipitation until evening.
35°F
27°

Mon

Mixed precipitation starting in the afternoon.
33°F
28°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

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 North Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Region is known for its extensive lava flows, flora and views of the North Sister.  It is best accessed off of the Old McKenzie Highway.**  Popular adventures include: Proxy Falls, the Obsidian Trail, Matthieu Lakes and Black Crater.
  • The Central PCT Region is known for its alpine meadows, lakes and the trails up the Middle and South Sisters.  It is best accessed from the town of Sisters via Three Creek Lakes Recreation Area.  Popular adventures include: Tam McArthur Rim, Three Creek Lakes, Park Meadow, Demaris Lake and Chambers Lakes.
  • The Southern PCT Region is known for its dense forests, lakes and high concentrations of mosquitoes.  It is best accessed from Bend via the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.**  Popular adventures include: Sisters Mirror Lake, Horse Lake and the Mink Lake Area.
  • The French Pete Creek and Western Region is known for its old-growth forests, mountains and lighter crowds. It is best accessed through Cougar Reservoir via Highway 126.
  • The Broken Top and Green Lakes Region is more heavily visited by climbers, campers and backpackers than other areas.  This region is best accessed from Bend via the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.**  Trailheads are at Todd Lake, Fall Creek and Devils Lake.  Popular adventures include: the South Sister and Broken Top, Green Lakes, Moraine Lake and Broken Top Crater.

* 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.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(61 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(137 within a 30 mile radius)

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