dogs on leash
FYI! A lot of reviews and websites say that the bat hibernation closure is in November. I am here now. October 1 it closes. So any out there looking for a rain day activity this will not be it . Good luck. It made me put star rating on it. I didn't want to as I haven't seen it
Great ride to get your feet under you. First half is a slight rise while the latter is almost entirely downhill. There are a few technical spots on the second half worth keeping an eye out for but overall it's a pretty easy ride. Watch out for the small gaps between the trees.
Most challenging and most rewarding hike I've done so far. We were lucky enough to have a cloudless sky. We weren't as physically prepared as we could have been, but got an early start and took our time. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to do this again. Heard the might start limiting access from a local on the trail.
Summary: 6 miles out and same back; 5,000 elevation gain
Duration: ~3.5 hours to peak (if quite fit, but much longer for most)
When: hiked in summer to avoid snow or highly sandy conditions (caught 80-degree day in late Sept)
Which: there is only one trail to summit, which means there will be traffic coming/going
Where: park at Devil’s Lake Trailhead (get there early for spot;) hike past restroom over creek via narrow bridge for short bit, then cross highway, which brings you to actual South Sister Climber Trail No. 36 sign (trailhead)
Action: complete trail pass document, which you will find at South Sister Climber Trail No. 36 sign (trailhead)
Route: straight-shot all the way, but there are signs to keep you on track to summit versus detour to Moraine Lake
Ascent: climbing is early and in earnest; trail is easy-to-follow; scree or more accurately loose cinder sand and gravel is encountered traversing “ridge” to false summit and is mile segment where most will suffer, but then you’re at the glacier and can either loop around to the right or simply cross the snow and ice to true summit
Descent: same steep “ridge” makes descent interesting; wearing gaiters will help avoid scree seeping into boots, but not required
Pets and Children: both are allowed, but have common sense
Provisions: may be long day, which warrants ample food and water
Equipment: headlamp, if starting in the dark to enjoy alpenglow; although not necessary/recommended for first 10+ miles, my friend appreciated poles during final mile descent to trailhead (i.e. tired and sore knees)
Caution: per hike’s steep nature, a little preventative care is suggested; for example, ankles will be flexed for extended periods and may cause unexpected friction to back of heels
Aside from the skree near the top, exposure, and hundreds of hikers, this is one of the best hikes I've been on in a long time. The countless hikers were actually more of a source of motivation than hindrance. Great hike, good times, and a worthy challenge.