Broken Top Loop Trail

HARD 43 reviews
#10 of 127 trails in

Broken Top Loop Trail is a 25.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sisters, Oregon that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

25.8 miles
4,189 feet

dogs on leash





horseback riding

nature trips







wild flowers




1 day ago

Great hike. planned on a 2 day 1 night trip. but things happened and I had to get out of there did the whole loop one day. proved its doable but not recommended unless you're in the condition for it. Apparently didn't get the memo on the dead elk and I refilled my water at the creek below no name and again at green lakes (another creek). I guess that means either I got lucky or my inline water filter worked well. clockwise or counter clockwise I can see it being good, just depends on if you want to get the climb out of the way earlier or not.

7 days ago

Originally had planned to do the loop in two nights and three days, but pushed through to do one night/two days. I agree that clockwise would be my advice as well, maybe some additional climbing the first day going uphill, but I would not have had the physical and mental strength to do the last part on a second or third day. Skirting Broken Hand was a little unnerving but doable - happy to have gotten it out of the way on day one. Camped at Green Lakes which was beautiful and not super buggy. Lots of water sources along the way but also a lot of exposed trail pretty much the entire time. No Name Lake is gorgeous but I wouldn’t get water there due to the animals on the ridge (dead elk ). Not sure how long they’ve been there, but best not to take chances. We backpacked this on August 8-9, 2018.

8 days ago


9 days ago

Hiked August 7th-9th 2018

I REALLY would recommend CLOCKWISE or else you’re going to have a rough day three. It gets the hardest part out of the way and you start off the biggest incline hydrated, full, and with no sore muscles. If you went counter-clockwise it would be a slow incline the whole time until say where you climb Broken top with 2 days of day hiking Under your belt! People say the views are better counter-clockwise but it’s all the same trail, all you have to do is look behind you and then you’re facing the counter-clockwise view!

We hiked 10 miles the first day up to the summit of Broken top were we collected water and then down Broken top to small creek where we hammock camped and got more water.
On day 2 we made the short and Beautiful hike past green lakes to Golden Lake 6 miles away, there’s a stream right across the lake for fresh water and the views of Broken top are amazing! This day was for swimming, napping and relaxing as it only took 4 short hours to get there.
On the last day we hiked 8 miles to the beginning of the loop with a short incline at the end before walking downhill to the car. There were 3 or 4 creeks on the way for water but almost no shade. We finished this stretch in about 5 hours.

Hike is a little hard for beginners like us but anyone can do it with the right supplies!

What made it easy was my straw water filter I could screw on to water pouches, so I could fill them and drink right away from any stream. Also the self heating Omeals from REI were so cool, so yummy and self heats in only 5 miles with no supplies.

Great hike!!!

16 days ago

Absolutely amazing loop! Hiked counterclockwise + spent first night at golden lake — lovely, a few bugs but nothing terrible. Spent night 2 at no name lake — WINDY, but not too cold and the sunset was unreal. Only part that was a little tricky was meeting back up with the tam mcarthur rim trail after heading cross-country from broken top on the third day. We skirted around the bottom of broken hand (not sure if that was the quickest way), but there was a tiny sort of trail marked with cairns. If you’re heading over this way, heads up that the meet up with the rim trail is right when you come up to the top of the saddle and broken hand/broken top are on your right — we started heading downhill through the rock field and had to scramble back up a bit to meet the trail. All in all a fantastic trip with no shortage of scenic views, would recommend to anyone!

20 days ago

Did the loop counterclockwise like most people suggest and it was the right call. The first 6 or so miles were a bit dry and boring (mostly burnt). Once you get some elevation it becomes much better. Plenty of creeks the entire way. After you pass green lakes it is beautiful. I did 20 the first day and camped at broken top and I’m glad I did. Sunset at broken top was perfect. camped overlooking the lake and it was great. Woke up and did the easy 5 down and am off to see more.

1 month ago

Really good trail lots of amazing views

1 month ago

Did this as an overnighter the first week of July. As everyone says, counter clockwise is best. Mountains and lakes within view the whole time. Slept at Golden Lakes but up in the stone to avoid mosquitos. There were only a couple spots with heavy mosquitoes but we just kept moving through those parts. None at higher dryer elevations. Noname Lake was still covered in snow and ice so we did not sleep there but continued back to the trailhead using the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail was amazing! We skirted the rocks on the path around the butte which was a little sketchy but not too hard. The butte is the only hard part in trying to find a trail.

If I were to recommend this, I would say take three days and camp in Green Lakes area first night. Then take a day trip with only water and extra clothes to summit South Sister. With the last day being to climb to Noname Lake and Rim Trail home. :) Lots of Miles but two mountain tops and amazing views!

1 month ago

Great Hike. Nine Boy Scouts and three Scout Leaders did the loop counter-clockwise from July 6-8, 2018. Day 1 was Three Creeks Lake to Golden Lake. About 8.5 miles. Lots of down fall and a few streams to cross. Day two started at Golden Lake and ended below No Name Lake. About 11.5 miles. Great views at the saddle between Broken Top and South Sister. Started to run into lots of hikers are Green Lake. Last mile involved lots of elevation. Day 3 started with the hike up to No Name Lake. The lake is pretty, but the money spot is the ridge above No Name Lake. To the North, we had a full view of the Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, Jefferson, and Hood. Many photos taken. From that point the trail along the ridge is very rough -- loose rock and snow fields on steep pitches. After about a mile, you link up to the main trail and it's smooth sailing back to Three Creeks. Overall, the hike's rewards vastly exceed its drawbacks. Highly recommended.

1 month ago

Pretty amazing loop. Agree that CCW is ideal. Get the burn out of the way first, many many downed trees on trail. I recommend skipping the little lake offshoots and scrambling the NW ridge instead. Even if you only just gain the ridge (8200ft) the views are epic and it’s much more peaceful than the highly trafficked lakes. Water ever few miles. And as of early July 2018 there is little to no snow on route. Most of it is near the rim portion and can be done in tennies. Would do a few weeks earlier (mid June) if done again, as the peaks are prettiest with ample snow. Beware of mosquitoes!!! Hoards of them anywhere below ca. 7500ft.

1 month ago

This trail was amazing… The map that is shown goes off trail a significant amount but because we had GPS we were able to figure it out. Going later in the summer if you are worried about losing the trail would be ideal so that the snow has time to melt. We went counterclockwise which was for sure the best because the mountains were in our view the entire time. Going that way there were incredible campsites at about mile five and again around mile 15.

2 months ago

Hiked this over memorial day weekend with a small group. Given that the majority of the trail is covered in snowpack at the moment, we more or less followed this route. We did the trip as an overnighter and camped at Green Lakes.We did the route clockwise which was the right choice given the conditions, but if we went in the summer we all agreed we'd probably go counter clockwise if for no other reason than dropping 2000ft in elevation at the end of the hike is much nicer than asending 1000.

This loop is absolutely gorgeous and we highly recommend it. As others have mentioned it's probably worth taking special care on the section from Broken Hand to the end of the trail. We didn't have to worry about it so much since we went the opposite way but I remember looking over my shoulder and thinking that finding the hook up with the Tam McArthur Rim Trail would be pretty damn hard if I didn't already know where it was.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This is the most complete backpacking trip you'll find in all of Oregon. Truly something for everyone. Excellent trail conditions as of Aug 12th '17. No name lake is predictably crowded with very limited tent space, but anywhere just below the lake is equally impressive and I would argue more comfortable and peaceful. Designated camping spots at Green Lakes were sparse due to the fact that many are under restoration, but if you get creative you will find excellent spots in the vicinity.
Any camping at Park Meadow is excellent due to the proximity and level of the creek running through the meadow.

Ample water supplies every couple miles. We had one 32 oz bottle and one 3L bladder per person and never ran short or dry.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Just completed this loop today.

Started at Three Creeks Trail. Camped the first night at Golden Lake. No problems whatsoever. No Snow. Approximately 7.7 miles though a burnt forest, meadows and a couple river crossings. Bring sandals for the crossings. This section was all soft sand on the trail. Much like walking on the dry portion of the beach.

Day two was a long difficult one. 10 miles from Golden Lake to the No Name Lake.

Day Three was out from the ice lake to Tam McArthur Rim and back to Three Creeks Lake. When leaving the lake it can be easy to lose the trail. Having said that, it's also very easy to find/follow the trail. Either set your compass bearing and aim for the end of Tam McArthur Rim, or just follow the AllTrails geotrack. Look for all the cairns to help guide you. Just make sure you hit the Tam McArthur Rim Trail at the very end. I walked passed it and had to climb 150 yards almost straight up in loose lava rock to get back on the trail.

There were multiple snow crossings both approaching the mountain and leaving the mountain. All easily passable.

The last few miles down from Tam McArthur to Three Creeks is very steep and harder than I expected.

Thank you to whomever uploaded this track. It was an incredible help.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Did this trail 2 weeks ago. Left from Park meadows trailhead and after you hit park meadows you have to cut your own trail through the snow between south sister and broken top but just keep heading between them and you'll eventually hit a point where you will see green lakes. From green lakes we headed down to the soda spring trailhead and took that up to the broken top trailhead area and continued down. Too much snow between broken top and bald butte so we took a trail down and around that puts you right along some ATV roads. We ended up taking a horseback trail back to three creeks lake and hitchhiked the 2 miles back to park meadows trailhead. Great trip we camped at green lakes and somewhere at the east end of bald butte. Many water crossings that I took my boots off for. Super fun just have some directional awareness in the snow

Monday, January 09, 2017

Monday, August 08, 2016

This was an amazing backpacking trip. Me and my partner started out at three creeks lake and hiked up the tam mcarthur rim trail until we reached a sign saying "unmaintained trail", however the trail was just as good as any maintained trail I've been on. From there we continued towards broken top. When we started gaining elevation closer to the mountain we turned off trail just before the knob named broken hand, this is the small peak right before broke top. We walked in the direction between broken top and ball butte where eventually we found the next trail (not hard to miss). From here we hiked broken top trail (there are no signs saying it is broken top trail but you will know it when you get to it). On broken top trail we continued to follow the signs that say to green lakes which will eventually take you all the way around broken top. Green lakes sits between broken top and the south sister. Up to the point where we reached camp at green lakes we hiked close to 14 miles. The next day we hiked north on the green lakes trail until we reached a split in the trail. At this point we got onto park meadow trail and hiked through the burnt forest to the park meadow tie trail (this trail takes you back to three creek lake just follow the signs saying "to three creek lake"). This section we hiked was close to 12 miles.
P.S. Bring bug spray, sunscreen, and a warm sleeping bag or something warm to sleep in. We only brought hammocks and 2 blankets each and froze all night. Have Fun!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Amazing views with lots of places to find clean water.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This was my first backpacking experience. We started just north of Three Creek Lake at the Park Meadows trail head. The first 4-5 miles are fairly level as you walk through the remains of a forest fire from 2012. Very surreal. You can get glimpses through the burned out trees of the Three Sisters which you wouldn't get if the trees were alive. 8-9 miles in made it to our first stop for the night, Green Lakes campground. On the way we did a 1 mile side trip to Golden Lake which was very beautiful. Green lakes is pretty too as it sits right below South Sister. Unfortunately the mosquitoes were very aggressive here.
Day two led us south on the western side of the mountain and then we turned east between Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor. After 4-5 miles we had a decision to make; either continue east/south east and loop around Ball Butte or cut north through a gap in the hills towards the mountain and shave off 5-6 miles. We decided on the latter and I'm glad we did. You go up and down several ridges and find yourself in the bowels of the mountain. There are several snow fields to cross. At the top of one ridge you can bear left and go up to see the glacier lake and a nice view from the rim. After that we made our way back down and skirted Broken Hand to the south and east. I guess there is a trail high up on Broken Hand but instead of climbing we went more to the east and around multiple ridges making our own trail. We tried cutting north as much as possible to catch the Tam McCarther trail but were unable to find it before the sun started to set. Made camp in a stand of trees and melted snow for water since there were no creeks in this area at all. Awesome rise and setting of the super moon this weekend. Sunday we started out again looking for the trail and found it only about a quarter mile close. Glad we didn't try to make it down the night before. The decent was about another four miles and parts were very steep. Overall we did roughly 24 miles in 45 hours-start to finish.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Broken Top Mt./Tam McArthur Rim was my first day hike experience and I handled it like a pro. It wasn't too hard or too easy. In fact, after we finished, I wanted to go back up to the top again. There was a bit of snow left on the ground still which we were not expecting and made it a bit of a challenge. The scenery was absolutely breath taking. When we reached the rim, we were able to see the entire cascade range in front of us, the lake down below, and Broken Top, our destination. And I have to say, although it was a bit cold, jumping in to the lake was a perfect way to finish the hike!

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