dogs on leash
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.
This hike was amazing! We and my cousin hikes into moraine lake and stayed their Friday night, even though it was freezing at night, it was worth it. Than we woke up and started hiking at around 730! Very heavily trafficked trail and a very popular hike. We made it to the top and summited in 5 hours from the lake. It took us longer because we took a lot of breaks! The trail is easy to follow, and not too hard, you hike over a lot of rocks before making it to the ridge by lake and that part of difficult. That last mile up the ridge is REAALLY HARD! It's all worth it though, amazing views and beautiful scenery!
Fun challenging fantastic views! The last half mile of this hike poses some definite shortness of breath and steep grades just short of scrambling. Sharp lava rock can slice you open quite easily. The false summit and true summit offer splendid views of broken top bachelor spark lake morraine lake hells lake elk lake middle and north sister mount Jefferson mount hood Rainer and even Mount St. Helens on a clear day.