Santiam, Duffy, and Mowich Lakes Trail

MODERATE 5 reviews
#48 of 120 trails in

Santiam, Duffy, and Mowich Lakes Trail is a 14.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sisters, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

14.8 miles
2,132 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




horseback riding



wild flowers


Take US-20 to mile marker 80. You will see the Pacific Trail exit on the north side of the road. Take the exit and drive up the road to the main parking lot. The trail head marker is displayed with the self-pass information sheets available to fill out. You will also need a parking pass, which can be purchased and most of the stores like REI.

23 days ago

This was a lovely hike. This hike is super easy to access and starts right off US-20, no long dirt roads or high clearance vehicles needed. First three miles are through beautiful blooming wildflower meadows. The trail is a bit dusty and exposed as you are hiking through a previous burn zone. Vegetation is growing but most of the new trees are under 10 feet tall. Our intention was to camp around Duffy lake but once we reached Santiam Lake (about 5-5.5 miles in) we saw that there were only a handful of campsite still open. We opted to snatch one up versus betting that Duffy would still have some. We are SO GLAD we camped at Santiam Lake as the next morning we continued the hiked to Duffy. We found Santiam to be so much more serene and easier to access the lake. Both lakes were warm and great spots to fish (literally tons of fish jumping out of the water). The Rangers were very active in this area and visited our campsite 3 times, which we found slightly excessive, especially since we were abiding by all regulations. They would just stop to check in. There are a TON of mosquitoes in the area so make sure to pack good bug spray.

4 months ago

This is a really beautiful area with a very easy hike in. We camped for only one night in October, but it was really magical as we had Duffy Lake entirely to ourselves.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hike started our GORGEOUS with a ton of wildflowers over the first mile or so. Relatively easy going for the most part, but there's still a fair amount of snow as you approach Santiam Lake... not enough to lose the trail, but enough to keep you paying attention to where the trail is! Tons of downed trees across the trail, especially between Santiam Lake and Duffy Lake. Duffy Lake was great once we got there... wonderful lakeside campsites, warm enough water for a quick dip, fishing and beautiful views of Duffy Butte!

Monday, July 25, 2016

This is a wonderful hike. We used the Santiam Lake trail #3491 off of the Pacific Crest Trail. The lakes on this section of the trail are gorgeous and plentiful. So many lakes we lost count. The trail around Duffy Lake is not maintained, but offered a great view of Duffy Butte and Three Fingered Jack. There is a direct trail to Duffy Lake via a forest service road if you prefer a shorter 3.5 mile hike. Mowich Lake is like a small version of Crater Lake, with a private island. This lake is at the bottom of Red Butte and behind Duffy Butte. Beauty abounds with these two lakes. Everything in between is worth the hike. It can be done in a day, but it is suggested that you take two or more days to enjoy everything in the area.

22 days ago