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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
10.80 mi (17.38 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.

Though it can be a bit of a hassle to arrange a shuttle, this multi-day hike through the alpine lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness completely justifies the effort. This unconventional route leaves from the Three Creek Lake trailhead and finishes at the Green Lakes or Fall Creek Trailhead at the northern end of Sparks Lake. The shuttle between the trailheads will take almost two hours.

Your first spectacular views will be at Tam McArthur Rim, where you can see as far north as Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood, as well as Oregon's high desert to the east. Follow the trail west to Broken Hand, and cross Broken Top Crater and Bend Glacier on the northern slopes of Broken Top. Opportunities for camping and water filtration will open up beyond this point. Consider a stay at Tarns, Golden Lake or one of the four ponds nestled at the base of Broken Top's northwest ridge. From here it is an easy hike west to the Green Lakes Trail. Before heading to Green Lakes, however, consider stashing some weight for the 2,000-foot climb to Broken Top's summit, a vantage point that offers some of the most rewarding views in the state.

A night at Green Lakes is a good transition back into civilization, as the area is one of the more heavily used places in the entire wilderness, but the size and setting of the three lakes make them worthy of an overnight stay despite their popularity.

Before taking the trail back along Fall Creek, consider a detour to Moraine Lake, or take a longer and more scenic route back to the trailhead via the trail to Cayuse Crater, where more impressive views of the South Sister will unfold. This alternate route past Cayuse Crater leads back to the Fall Creek trailhead via Soda Creek.

Note: Be prepared for mosquitos near the lakes.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Traverse over incredible subalpine region.

Cons

Shuttle transportation required.

Trailhead Elevation

5,440.00 ft (1,658.11 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,760.00 ft (841.25 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

Thank you for the photos, Daram!
07/07/2018
Heart shaped Three Creek Lake and Three sisters, it has this amazing view of everything!
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