Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,420.00 ft (737.62 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
23.30 mi (37.50 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The 20-mile hike into the Three Sisters Wilderness to Chambers Lakes from the Obsidian Trailhead is worth the effort. Set in the saddle between South Sister and Middle Sister, Chambers Lakes are the highest accessible lakes in the Cascades. With an average elevation around 7,000 feet, the lakes stay cold year round. Don’t bother packing in your swimsuit. Even though it’s very likely you won’t want to take a dip, the exceptional views make this an extraordinary destination: after hiking up into alpine territory and cresting the final stretch of the trail leading to the lakes, you are presented with a volcanic landscape that resembles a moonwalk with mountain views.

For the overall hike, there are two challenging-but-shorter stretches. Immediately from the Obsidian Trailhead you will gain elevation to reach the lava fields with views to the Three Sisters. After this lava field, the travel is mostly on flat or rolling terrain until you hit the final push for Chambers Lakes. The last stretch up into the saddle between South Sister and Middle Sister is approximately 1-mile up via switchbacks.

Campsites and water options are plentiful along this adventure. The trails are well maintained and helpful signage can be found at each intersection to keep you on the right path. 

Note: The Obsidian Limited Entry Area Permit is required for all day-hikes and overnight camping in the restricted area along with a NW Forest Pass. Contact the McKenzie River Ranger Station at 541.822.3381 for more information.

Navigate your adventures with the onX Backcountry GPS app.

Access 650K+ miles of trail data, offline maps, GPS tracking + waypoint functionality, Outdoor Project adventures, and more, using onX Backcountry.

Get the App

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Obsidian Limited Entry Area Permit

Pros

Rugged and barren landscape. Far less crowded than southeast side of Three Sisters.

Cons

Special limited entry area permit required. Frequent high winds at Chambers Lakes.

Trailhead Elevation

4,780.00 ft (1,456.94 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Big Game Watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.