South Sister Summit

HARD 53 reviews

South Sister Summit is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bend, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4983 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

4 days ago

While this climb allows for some unbelievably rewarding scenery and views, it is not for everyone. You should not attempt it unless you are already in great hiking shape. The final ascent past the glacier is brutal and dangerous, but it is well worth it at the top. The unique part about this hike is all the different geographical challenges, although it is easy to get lost off the trail. Make sure to come prepared for changes in temperature at the top.

hiking
24 days ago

Epic hike, 5 hours up, 90 minutes on top. We walked around the whole summit. I highly recommend. 4 hours down. Started @ 635am and back to the car @ 520 pm. Not easy but soo worth it.

hiking
28 days ago

Excellent hike, gorgeous views of Bachelor, Broken Top, and surrounding area. Some butterflies still around and I loved the change in terrain throughout the hike. However, I wouldn't recommend to someone without some hiking experience and be prepared with plenty of water. Last two miles are up steep, loose ash/soil and very dusty; if you have low shoes, I suggest gaiters to keep the debris out. I recommend going early before it gets hot out or you will be exposed to hot sun during the majority of the hike. We left the trailhead at 5am (used a headlamp through the lower forest section) and summitted around 9:30am when it was still relatively cool and windy at the top. It was gorgeous views on the way up but the smoke and haze from the forest fires started rolling in on the way down. I couldn't believe how many people were attempting late in the day when it was hot out and the views (and thus reward) were limited. We couldn't even see the top on the way down - yet another reason to go early when fires are present. On August 19th, every trail around South Sister was closed for forest fires, except the summit hike, so review trail information before you go. US Forest Service Permit required at trailhead.

hiking
29 days ago

Summiting South Sisters is not for the weak minded. It is a very hard climb and requires you be mentally and physically prepared. It took us 7 hours to climb to the summit. The first 4 miles took us 2 ours and the last 2.5 miles took us 5 hours. It was an epic experience. We met so many amazing people on our climb. Everyone was encouraging. We were surprised to see people starting so late in the day. This hike unless you are in ultra shape and used to climbing takes 6 to 10 plus hours to hike. So make sure you know what you are getting into. We loved the community we felt with the other hikers and created a facebook page for those who have climbed or are wanting to climb. facebook.com/Isummitedsouthsister Would love for you to join our community. Post pictures, share your experience, learn about the climb.

hiking
30 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

This was my first mountain I've ever done. And for a first time hiker it was hard to find really good info on this hike. First off it's hard. Like really hard but doable. My best friend and I made it to the summit a couple days ago and my muscles still hurt.
Several things I would like to stress. Poles & gators are a must! Poles probably saved us. Makes the up easier and the down feel safer. I wish I had known about Gators. They cover your shoes and keep the rocks out. Even with them I had to empty my shoes 3x coming down. Water and more water. I packed 4L and drank all of it! And Gu...the kinda gross gu packs that athletes use were life savers. It gave me energy and my muscles the sodium they needed. It still felt like you do a million walking lunges on the way up and then of course hundreds of squats on the way down.
To describe the trail. There is 2 mile of forest which is really cool but mostly up. A nice kind of intro. Then 2 miles of meadow which is a nice stroll a great break before the summit begins. The last 2 miles is up hill!!!
The first mile up the summit is ok...hard but ok. Gave me some major confidence boosts, much needed. There are some definite sketchy points where the trail is hard to find, we were lucky to have someone who had done it before and helped us out on the way. You reach the false summit which has some amazing views. Then you look up...yep up, up, up. You still have another mile of UP in scree. Or as I called the whole way up s$&t. If you want to prepare at all for this hike. Climb sand dunes because it's about the same. Except there are rocks.
It took us about 2-2.5 hours to go that one mile. We took our time and the altitude definitely got to us. But we made it. Sadly due to the fires that surrounded Sisters wilderness blocked out what we had been told were epic views. Guess that means we have to do it again....maybe in a few years. There were an amazing amount of butterflies on the summit which was absolutely amazing.
We stayed on the summit for a bit and gave our muscles a rest. Going down was easier but we were done. We worked our bodies hard.
This hike is hard. The hike is worth it. I hope this helps the inexperienced hikers out there wanting to step up your game. Good luck. Take your time. There will be people who run up the mountain. We even saw a gal skip down the mountain. Shake it off. One step in front of the other and don't let the mountain get in your head!

1 month ago

Is this affected by the forest fires at all? We are heading up tomorrow.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Hard Hike! Millions of butterflies at the summit right now which is a sight in itself! Mosquitos for the first few miles, but you lose them after Moraine Lake.

backpacking
1 month ago

If the forecast permits, I highly recommend carrying your gear to the summit and camping there. Rock shelters are built to shield you from the wind though the wind still may keep you up from time to time by shaking the tent. It is one hell of a place to wake up.

backpacking
1 month ago

Stayed at Moraine lake. Great sky views. Great climb. Very rigorous. So many butterflies, which I can't find out why they are even there. Stunning views. If you don't start early the sun will really get you.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on July 19th and the trail still has snow in some spots. We used micro spikes and made it with no problems. I saw others with just their hiking boots and they didn't seem to have any problems either. Took us a long time about 10 hours round-trip...because I'm pretty slow. But we made it to the summit and the views are absolutely beautiful. The trail was not crowded at all. Next time we may camp and spend more time.

hiking
2 months ago

July 8 '17 Summit- Much of the hike is still covered by snow. It begins covering the trail well below treeline. You should have some route-finding skills and be comfortable traveling on snow.

The snow was pretty good on the way up, some people used crampons or microspikes, I did see some people with just hiking boots. The snow ended once you begin up the screen slope below Lewis Glacier. If you need to filter water, this lake is open. The ridge to the summit is clear of snow. The lake at the summit is still frozen over. Summit was great! Bring a jacket, it was a little windy. We hung out for about an hour and headed down.

The snow was pretty sticky on the way down. I did see some people with skis. Make sure you have sunscreen, and plenty of water (I drank over 100oz) or bring your filter. If you're not an ultramarathoner plan for a full day.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago