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Take the loop left (glacier trail first) for awesome views of he mountains. Otherwise you hike down with them at your back. Awesome trail not to steep but a steady hill up/down.

22 hours ago

Absolutely beautiful. Did an overnight hike - went south on the PCT and camped at Eileen Lake. First day on the Obsidian Trail featured bright blue skies and gorgeous sun. The next day was classic NW fog, mist, and moody skies. It was like an entirely different trail. Both days were stunning. Pretty easy hike - no major climbs! Spooky burn areas - very surreal!

love love love. Summit 2 times in a three week period. love this place

I’ve hiked to the falls 3 times now, never been disappointed. Go in early September for less snow, more wildlife/LESS MOSQUITOS!

7 days ago

This hike is TOUGH but well worth the effort. We went on Saturday with no views at the summit except for the beautiful smiling faces that were thankful they made it. Started around 8:30am and made it back to the car by 4:00pm with a long stop for lunch. If there’s clouds at the top when you start, don’t count on them to burn off. The views up to the clouds were great though, broken top, a few glacier fed lakes, and the endless trees surrounding. Bring warm clothes and plenty of food and water and it’s a great way to spend the day!

7 days ago

Two week back to back hiking at South sister trail. First week with great weather but we didn't manage time well and had to stop at the glacier, one mile shy of the top. I went there again yesterday. Weather was good initially but changed quickly. It was freezing cold with thick fog and gusty wind while climbing up. Even the rocks started to frost. Stayed at the summit all by myself for 15 miserable minutes with absolute no view and a shivering body. Finished in 7 tough hours. Will go again!

7 days ago

First time hiking South Sister and wow, what an experience! I expected it to be cold at the summit as warned, but not 6°F with 30-40mph winds! Clouds blanketed the summit, but the reward was just making it up. Although I had my Nano Puff jacket to keep warm, next time I'm bringing some heavy insulated gloves.

Saw many hikers, about 200 I'd say. Some made a u-turn before the last 1-2 miles to the summit. I think that was the right choice as the weather at the top would have just made it unbearable. Trekking poles are a life saver on knees and slippage, so don't leave home without em!

8 days ago

This was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I’m so stoked to say I made it to the top. This is absolutely not for beginner hikers. Be prepared... plenty of water, a day’s worth of food (you won’t believe how many calories you will burn) and layers of clothing. We hit all the elements on this one. It started out sunny but the last half we hit 35 mph winds and low visibility. At the top there were snowflakes and icicles on our clothes. I highly recommend packing gators so dirt and rocks don’t get in your socks/shoes. I can’t stress enough about packing your trekking poles. Sooo glad I did it!!

13 days ago

Hiked this with a friend on Sunday. There was a nice break in the hazy weather and the views were mostly clear the whole day. This was the 4th time I have been up South Sister, and the views and experience never get old. The first few miles through the forest always seem difficult, but I think it's because it is early in the morning and it immediately starts climbing without much of a warm-up. Once you get through the forest, it levels out for beautiful views of Bachelor, Broken Top, South Sister, and Moraine Lake. The last 3 miles are over rocky, loose terrain, so it takes more time to get adequate footing. We had lunch at the false summit down at the glacier. The last mile is slow moving due to scree and loose cinder rock. The views at the top are unlike any other and everyone should experience it. Definitely recommend hiking poles, sunscreen, bug spray, and LOTS of water (I took 4L and had about 1L left over.. but I have run out of water up there in the past). It is a strenuous hike, but doable if you have enough mental grit and perseverance.

After taking the trail all the way to the summit, I have to say that this is a very intense hike! I probably took longer than anyone else did that day. Lots of breaks! I wish I had brought some walking poles and a bit more water, but it was amazing! I found the hardest part of the hike to be the return trip. I used most of my strength to reach the summit, but the walk back down.... Well worth the time it took! I'm 46 and I'm out of shape, so it took me 8 hours total walking time. Again, well worth it!

14 days ago

Hiked on 9/8/2018:

The trail head is full of activity all night long and very difficult to get any sleep in your vehicle - bring ear plugs. Many people hike out during darkness, at all hours of the night but especially an hour or two before sunrise. The trail is VERY easy to follow and using head lamps is VERY easy. The first approx 3 miles is without rocks to navigate (unlike the next 3) so night travel is not bad at all. Plenty of places to pitch a tent or cowboy camp on the lower 3 miles. Next to no place to camp at the tear drop lake. The terrain is some of the worst around, slippery sand and lots of large loose rocks to navigate. The last mile from the lake to summit takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round trip (not counting time on the summit). Major burn on the legs coming back down.

If your legs are not conditioned for the constant uphill climb on some of the worst sand and rocks and ruts then you'll be hurting. Start early if you want to reach the summit.

I hike everywhere with my dog. She's in good shape, only 4 years old, golden retriever. But I left her home on this trip and glad for it. Some have said here about wearing booties, personally i think they need the traction on this one and booties might actually be more dangerous. Just my 2 cents.

Great hike! Seriously on of the more physically challenging trails that I've ever been on. Next time I plan hike out the first 3 miles in the evening, spend the night, and summit first thing in the morning.

DO NOT TAKE DOGS ON THIS TRAIL!!! Unless you for sure know your pup can handle it. This hike is HARD and HOT. Don’t be cruel. I saw several examples today of what I would deem ignorant animal abuse and it was heart breaking.

What a hike this one is. I wouldn’t recommend taking your dog.. it’s definitely not a hike for the faint of heart for sure.. bring plenty of snacks and water for this all day hike. Can’t wait to don’t again.. hiked on for the first time ever on 9-1-2018

I’m not in the best shape and decided to hike this plus throw an extra 40lbs on my back. Took me 14 hours I finish it but I did make it to the top. I can see why they recommend only experienced hikers to do this but if you are tough mentally, you can do it. The loose rocks towards to the top was the toughest part of the trail.

Rookie to south sister and I absolutely loved it, although I will concur it is challenging both physically and mentally. I'm a 25 year old female and was weary on sumitting alone but path is clearly marked and plenty of other hikers on the trail. Left at 630am and took me 8.5 hours (at false summit took a left instead of a right, big mistake costing 30 mins before I realized!!) Last part of the hike up the red gravel is deceiving in length, difficulty and time, expect two hours here for first timers. Enjoyed the summit for over an hour, had stunning views of some of the Oregon mountains. Would recommend hiking boots and poles although I managed without either. Enjoy !!

18 days ago

Hiked September 5th: 3:45 up and 3:15 down

I'm not sure what people are talking about when they say there is a false summit. You can see the summit from Moraine Lake and for the 4.5 miles thereafter. These "false summit" folks must also be the people who say the Earth is flat, not round.

Overall a great hike, but not the death march that some have described. The terrain is steep and the surface is frustratingly loose, providing unstable footing.

The views are spectacular; I highly recommend catching a sunrise or sunset from the peak.

Some people have complained about dogs on the trail. I would say just know your dog's capabilities (unless you have a pug, corgi, yorkie, pomeranian, etc... then I concur with those who have said to leave your dog at home). How about instead of ditching your dog, we all agree to leave the denim jeans and flip flops at home. I can't even count how many people I passed who were wearing sandals, jeans, or carrying just a single Nalgene bottle. Don't be that guy (or gal).

After the first 1.5 miles there is little-to-no shade so it gets hot out there. Pack accordingly. Hiking poles and boots with ankle support are recommended to combat the gravel-like trail.

If you want to question all life choices you’ve ever made try this trail! Haha but seriously this trail is not 6 miles I clocked it at 9.5 miles to Russel lake and I checked on the way back got the same distance so I have no idea where 6 miles is coming from. This trail is relentless and difficult so if you want to cry for 6 miles try it out! Hahahaha the lake is pretty sweet though. Make sure you bring a pad to sleep on because the ground is reeeeeeeeally hard. At the end make sure you go left if you want to get to Russel lake because it’s not marked.

19 days ago

Great hike with stunning views at the top. We made it a loop coming back via green lake.

20 days ago

Amazing and hard! It’s supposed to be hard though, that’s what makes it worth it. Everyone says one false summit I say two because you still have to walk the rim and go up a little bit to reach true summit. Can’t wait to do it again!!

Backpacked and stayed at 9000 feet, couldn’t push the rest of the way. Will pack lighter and camp with a pad and bag only next time. No tent needed at that height if it’s clear. Amazing views at sunrise and was the first up to see it all! Can’t wait to do this mole hill again next year

you're gonna have to want it.

it's totally gorgeous. and hard as hell. all the way up and all the way down.

worth every step.

21 days ago

Now I know why this hike got 5 stars. Be prepared because It’s not just walking to the woods. It’s a great hike!

Did the sunrise summit. Absolutely amazing views but not for the faint of heart.

A brutal hike, but the views at the summit are breathtaking! Well worth the hard work!

Great views of Three Finger Jack and Mt Jefferson. Nice trail, narrow though and lots of Mt Bikers. Great old growth forests. No water except near south trailhead. Used this trail to connect to the Old Cascade Crest loop trail.

This was a hard but great hike! I started early (5:45am) which helped to beat some of the sun and the crowds. I did not use trekking poles and did okay without them. My dog did great but we hike almost every weekend, and I did bring socks/boots for his paws. If you take your dog, you should bring dog boots and enough water and snacks for both of you.

29 days ago

Was able to get above the smoke and have beautiful blue sky. Very cold at the top. Lots of campers At the top. My Heart said I did 16 total miles not 12 advertised. There is a false summit that leads to the blue/green lake. Actual summit is at least an hour from that probably closer to 2. When you get on the actual mountain the terrain because very difficult. Sand and slippery

1 month ago

“Easiest” way to summit a glaciated mountain. Bring trekking poles, gaiters (for either snow or so you don’t constantly get sand in your boots on the way down), and don’t wear shorts (i know it’s hot at the trail head, but you’ll be fine once you get to the base of the mtn) and bring a puffy for the summit (wind and also you’re at over 10k feet, my dudes). For the love of god don’t bring your dog unless you know they’re 1) FIT and 2) can handle hard effort at elevation above 7k feet.

1 month ago

It was a good time to be had. Not too difficult, not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe don’t try to climb around the rim if you’re inexperienced or weary of heights.

on South Sister Trail

1 month ago

We hiked yesterday, beautiful but hard! I am a runner & in good shape but struggled with altitude as was a grind at certain places (smoke from fires didn’t help). Took us 8 hours & we started early at 6AM based on reviews which was good suggestion- gets hot! Dress in layers as hot on hike up but cooler at top. There are some rocky/ sandy sections where hard keep footing so be careful. Bring hiking poles, good shoes, lots water & snacks. Sadly 8/19 had lots smoke & think today & next few days will be worse so check air conditions & put off if you can as marred our views, although still beautiful. I saw a few dogs on trail & as a dog owner/ lover- don’t bring them! It is a hard hike- lots climbing & hot, rocky & hard on my feet so can only imagine theirs.

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