Obsidian Trail is a 11.8 mile out and back trail located near Blue River, OR that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking.
We did go on a cloudy day and didn't get to see the Middle and North Sister at trot best. Make sure you pay the 6 dollar fee online otherwise it's 200 bucks a head if caught. Arrowhead lake is a mile off the lollipop loop but worth it.
We hiked this trail with our 12 year old son who just loves any kind of rocks, especially Obsidian. Started early after getting the right permits the day before. It was a gorgeous day. However, the first several miles are pure boredom with nothing to see but the path and trees. Not very motivating for a youngster. Once it joins the PCT it gets way more interesting with views and the famous obsidian rock flows. The sun was just perfect to capture the light off the obsidian rocks, it looked like black glass. But of course you have to hike back to your car again, thru the boring parts. I don't think it wa really worth the 11 mile effort. Especially not for a youngster.
The first 2or3 miles gets kind of boring until u get to the lava flow then it's all fantastic after that especially when u get up to the springs and the waterfall that whole area up there is awesome. I took the mime springs trail which hooks back up to the obsidian trail and it ends up making a big loop which is really cool and u end up back at the mime and linton split. The mime trl is all up hill and gets pretty steep so if your not in pretty good shape plan on taking a lot of brakes but to me it's well worth the effort and that way u get to see the plaques and a few valleys that are really awesome . Loads of deer and martens everywhere when I was there . This trl is highly recommended for scenery and well worth the 6dollars for the permit and even the lava area is awesome . Just remember it's not easy but well worth the effort . Time wise I started at 9am and got back to the car at 2:30pm I was by myself and didn't take many brakes. I stopped at the falls for lunch which is a great place to stop and relax before heading back . If u start early u can take your time but don't forget your camera and take a map there's a few intersections that are confusing .signing off have a good day and great time and be safe .
My wife and I hiked the Obsidian trail on 9-27-2014... after getting the required Limited Entry Area permit (to gain access to the Obsidian restricted entry area) and a daily National Forest Recreation Forest Recreation pass (to park our vehicle at the trail-head).
We found the route to be very good for a day hike with its distance of just under 11 miles, its elevation gain of about 2000 feet and a very well maintained and graded trail: rather wide, with practically no roots or loose rocks (with the exception of the crossing of the lava flow of course). The views once we got to the lava flow and beyond are definitely worth the 3 miles or so getting there through uninterrupted forested land. A hiker we met on our return journey was desperate to "see something else than trees!" -- if views are (most of) what you are looking for, it will indeed take you a little while to find your get your first reward.
If the "obsidian" in Obsidian Trail is what brought you there, you will reach your goal walking the 1 mile or so section of the Pacific Coast Trail that essentially constitutes the mid-point of the hike. You will see obsidian on the Linton Meadows branch of the trail too if you climbed that way, but continue to the PCT and you won't get disappointed.
The Sisters were shrouded on and off with low clouds when we got out of the forest; we will have to go back on bright and cloud-less day... an easy "excuse" if we needed one to go back to that wonderful trail.
About a quarter of a mile on the PCT we were met by a young Ranger (Andy) who checked that we were hiking responsibly (including carrying the right permit and packing out everything we packed in). Besides doing his job, Andy was very friendly and willing to share information about the area and his life as a ranger.
Pretty hike, we went in July and still saw some patches of snow. Start early in the day, this is a long one!
Begin at Frog Camp off Highway 242. Obtain a permit from the McKenzie Ranger Station before starting on this trail. It is a gradual climb for the first 3 miles - reaching a lava flow. The trail crosses the flow reaching White Branch creek. I continued onto the PCT to the Wickiup Plains and descended to Devils Lake. It is a steady climb until the base of Middle Sister; then fairly level until the descent out of Wickiup Plains. Great views. Excellant day hike especially with someone to drops you off and retrieves you at each end.