Obsidian Trail

MODERATE 45 reviews
#16 of 122 trails in

Obsidian Trail is a 11.8 mile out and back trail located near Blue River, Oregon that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,139 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

forest

views

wildlife

bugs

snow

backpacking
31 minutes 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!

4 days ago

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

1 month ago

At the top, Obsidian Falls is worth the grueling hike. Good entry to 3 Sisters Wilderness for backpacking

hiking
1 month ago

The most beautiful hike I have been on in the States. Requires a reservation, which is a pain to get but worth the trouble. I’ve done this twice, both times in August. There is nothing on earth like the obsidian fields, they glow in the sunlight, absolutely worth the trip. Plus Middle Sister looms directly overhead after you punch up out of the forest. This is full of cliffs, peaks, dells, forests, lava rocks and obsidian glass. Stunning, do not pass up the opportunity.

There is a pretty nice little stream right before the loop at the end. Easy refill if you have a means for purification.

Bugs were not an issue, and I hit no snow.

It’s pretty remote as the permit only allows 30 people a day (70 campers I believe). Rangers do check for permits. In 4 hours I saw 2 hikers, and one ranger, otherwise I had the trail to myself.

This is labeled moderate but if you are not pushing the pace I’d say it’s easy for an adult. I jogged it when I was 18, I did it in 4 hours last week at 40.

1 month ago

Now this is what a get away should be all about. We hiked in and did an overnighter in our hammocks. Plenty of camp spots up around from Obsidian Falls. Spring water out of the shale rock was awesome. Crystal clear. We had our own little private lake for a dip at Arrow head lakes. Too much to see for a day hike. I recommend an overnighter to soak it all in. Sunrise and Sunset were picture perfect.

2 months ago

amazing

hiking
2 months ago

I loved it. Great for a long get day hike. I will be going back for sure, but want to bring overnight gear to explore even further.

hiking
2 months ago

Went on this trail yesterday. Very little snow at this point put still lots of water for refills. I didn't feel that the bugs were terrible but bring bug spray anyways. Beautiful hike. Don't forget your permit, they were checking.

hiking
2 months ago

Don't forget the bug spray! Beautiful hike!

2 months ago

This was a great hike! Not super challenging even though it’s rated as hard. Snow was manageable and easy to find the trail again because of footprints in it. First few miles are really boring though and there are already so many mosquitos so be ready for that. I’d definitely go again.

hiking
2 months ago

Easily one of my favorite backpacking trips ever. Considerable snow on the ground, but nothing knee deep. At the very end of the first half of the trail, where it meets the PCT, there was a dangerous icy patch. If you plan on going that far to pitch your tent, would bring ice spikes to cross into that part. It freezes from slush to ice. Brought a friend who never backpacked before and she loved every second. Wouldn’t rate this as difficult. Rather...medium. The views are insane. You’ll have limited reception in some areas! Make sure you have a map. Some areas can get tricky, and you might find yourself on the PCT accidentally.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing, especially if you like being up close and personal with a volcanic eruption zone! The field of obsidian at the base of the mountains sparkles like diamonds. Lots of springs & alpine meadows. Easy to medium difficulty. Walked the last four miles out by the light of a full moon, which I photographed rising over Middle Sister. Didn’t need a flashlight! Went mid-September, fewer hikers but cool and rather windy. Excellent hike!

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dayhiked on 7/14. Pleasant trail, loved the lava section! Would rate as moderate, as no real strenuous parts. Completed in 5 hours, some slowness due to snow. The upper loop (after hitting the meadow area) still has a LOT of solid snow on the trail, mostly easy to walk on, but we lost the trail quite a few times.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Great trip make sure you have a lot of daylight especially if you do the whole loop! Great views of Scott Mountain , Mt Washington, north and middle sister , and three fingered Jack!! I would reccommend it to anyone wanting to take a challenging but rewarding trail!

backpacking
Saturday, November 05, 2016

This hike requires a permit which you must get online. The geologic features made this hike worth doing. The PCT stretch sports great views of North and Middle Sister.

hiking
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

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.

hiking
Saturday, August 06, 2016

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.

hiking
Tuesday, August 04, 2015

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 .

hiking
Sunday, September 28, 2014

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.

hiking
Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pretty hike, we went in July and still saw some patches of snow. Start early in the day, this is a long one!

hiking
Saturday, March 03, 2012

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.

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8 days ago

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14 days ago

recorded Obsidian Trail

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