Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,880.00 ft (1,487.42 m)
Trail type
11.00 mi (17.70 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 South Sister is a spectacular introduction to non-technical mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. The trail up ascends through a dense hemlock forest before emerging into mixed alpine terrain and red cinder scree fields. Throughout the course of the route you'll catch breathtaking views of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top and the Cascade Range. The trail skirts the edge of the crater rim and curves around Teardrop Lake, the highest lake in Oregon, eventually arriving at the summit. From here you'll see the neighboring Middle and North Sisters, and on a clear day you'll have no trouble seeing Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and Black Butte.

For climbers eager to get an early morning start, the Devils Lake trailhead offers nine campsites at no additional charge on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also soothe your feet in the chilly lake water after a long day of hiking. No matter what time of year you go, always remember to bring sunscreen and the essential mountaineering gear.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Amazing panoramic views. Little gear needed.


Scree near the summit in late summer.

Trailhead Elevation

5,480.00 ft (1,670.30 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day




Giant and accessible mountain. Good intro to climbing if you have the stamina for the hike. Here is a detailed video showing the summit.
This was a hard but great hike! I did not take trekking poles but did okay without them. Almost everyone else on the trail did have them. I also took my dog who goes hiking with me almost every weekend. He had a great time but I also took socks/dog boots for him to protect his paws from the scree. If you do take your dog, make sure you have enough water and snacks for both of you. Starting early also helped us beat some of the sun and the crowds.
Great hike! A little smokey...but it's August in Oregon. Started hiking at 6am. Summit by 11am. Had over 4L of water. It was hot. Saw a lot of people without poles and dogs with bare paws. Dogs need booties and humans need poles.
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