Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
19.80 mi (31.86 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.

Over the 19 miles of scenic hiking to Eileen Lake and The Husband Lake you will gain nearly 2,000 feet of elevation. A majority of the work is done from the start, rising from the trailhead up into the volcanic lava flows above. While the early and somewhat strenuous climb offers few views aside from the dense forest, you are rewarded at higher elevation with constant views of the Three Sisters as well as the occasional sighting of Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, and Mount Jefferson.

Once you crest the lava flows below the Three Sisters, the hiking is for the most part flat or rolling terrain. There are numerous large, flat plains, clear streams, Obsidian Falls, obsidian rock fields, and abundant wildflowers on the way to these high-elevation lakes. Given the amount of streams and lakes, this area is also notorious for dense mosquitoes. With an early or late season trip you may be lucky enough to avoid the pesky insects.

When it comes to camping, there are multiple campsites at both Eileen Lakes and Husband Lake. There are also various sites along the trial if all sites near the lakes happen to be full. Keep in mind that campfires are not allowed within 100 feet of water or trail anywhere within the wilderness area. Also, the weather in the Three Sisters is generally mild over the summer months, with temperatures commonly in the 70s and 80s. Due to the elevation, you will likely find snow covering the higher trails well into July.

For the statistical and history buff, the Three Sisters Wilderness came to be thanks to the National Wilderness Preservation System with the Wilderness Act of 1964. This designated wilderness area covers 281,190 total acres, which is covered by nearly 260 miles of trails - including a 40-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. 

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Obsidian Limited Entry Area Permit

Pros

Subalpine landscape. Far less crowded than southeast side of Three Sisters.

Cons

Special limited entry area permit required.

Trailhead Elevation

4,780.00 ft (1,456.94 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,870.00 ft (569.98 m)

Features

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

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

06/25/2017
My boyfriend and I just attempted this hike last weekend (mid-late June) and the snow was so deep it obscured the trail in numerous places and we kept getting lost. We took a copy of the trail map from here as well as one from the USFS of the obsidian limited access area and, between the 2 of them, a compass and some common sense, we were able to find our way back out and actually had a mostly good time doing it. We never made it even close to the lakes, though we did visit Spring lake on our way back out and it was beautiful. Before you go, know that the trail is not well marked for snow, the northern fork of the creek shown on this map doesn't appear to exist this early in the year, and having an additional map with topographical markers is very helpful.
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