Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Sisters with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hot weather and scary, burned forest, but the trail was easy and North Matthieu was beautiful. No bugs!

on Broken Top Loop Trail

backpacking
5 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.

Pretty good hike and fairly easy. Less that 1000 ft of elevation gain and the path is nice. Lots of burn area which is a little unsettling. Most trees look like they could tip at any time. Both lakes are cool and it’s fun to see the PCT hikers come through! Follow all our adventures on Instagram @themicrotourists.

WARNING!!! 16 DEAD ELK CONTAMINATED THE WATER AT NO NAME LAKE AT THE SUMMIT OF BROKEN TOP

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!!!

simply beautiful! it was interesting walking through the burned area from 2017 and the snippet of PCT was astounding.

backpacking
14 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!

Total mileage is about 5.7 miles actually (tracked with Gaia). Beautiful easy hike. The burned out parts of the forest are stunning. Total loop took just under 2 hours. Nice way to break up the drive to Bend from Eugene.

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.

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Discovered this trail after Three Fingered Jack was too hot (90s) for my pup. Even though the temperature still soared, there was enough tree coverage to provide adequate shade even through the burnt forest. Plus, the lakes are so lovely.

The trail is moderately easy with a minimal incline leading up to the south lake. There are at least seven campgrounds, one of which we stayed in. Don’t skip the northern lake as it has beautiful views of the surrounding area and a few additional campgrounds. Don’t be alarmed when you pass two blackened lakes on your way- those are ponds and are not the water feature.

Don’t forget your sunscreen. Two of the creek crossings were a bit more than anticipated but the views and serenity were well worth my wet shoes.

The burned section was long. Views were fabulous on the way out. Bugs at the lakes

Was beautiful early June with minimal snow. Bugs were thick and good fishing in the lake!

Really good trail lots of amazing views

Epic views! Lots of burned areas but there were also a lot of amazing sights which made this short hike well worth it. Maybe it was me but it felt like much more gain than 900 ft. Could have been the elevation that had me more winded than usual. Surprisingly the mosquitoes were almost non existent today. A few annoying biting flies but even those were sparse.

backpacking
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!

hiking
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.

backpacking
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.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike to North Matthieu Lake. Well worth the effort and gorgeous views as you go. A few things others haven't mentioned yet -
1) Don't take your first right if you have joined the hike from the Lava Camp Lake parking lot. If you do that first right - you will end up hiking on a lava trail to the Pac Crest Trailhead. This trail however, has a lot of amazing views of the mountains that you may not otherwise see - but is very hard if you aren't sure footed.

2) MOSQUITOES - Lots of them. Maybe there was just a hatch, but WOW. Take your repellent. Along with the swarms of mosquitoes you will also experience dive bombing and head circling big flies. Miserable if you aren't prepared. Our baby wore a buff to cover his head, ears and neck to stop the complete meltdown.

3) The trail feels like you will never make it to the lake and keeps going up - but don't give up. Once you feel like you may have gone the wrong way, and you will never get there - it will be right around the corner. :)

4) Dogs - off leash everywhere. Just be aware if you have your dog with you - and are using a leash - that almost everyone else isn't. Bummer for those that care and leash their dogs.

We will be doing this hike again - and will get to the South Lake the next time - as well as to see the crater everyone talks of.

Go for it!!

hiking
1 month ago

Worth hiking! I have never been so close to the North Sister. Also, I enjoyed snow near the South Matthieu - the 2nd of July!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a REALLY beautiful hike!! Went on 6/29, We started on the PCT at hwy 242, took the lava fields to the trailhead, it added an extra 2 Miles total to the hike but it was well worth it. Then we followed the lava wall all the way for the most part and you could also just follow the PCT the whole way to the south lake, then follow the lake trail all the way back for the loop. Both lakes were gorgeous!! The signs and directions seemed backwards to us, so we added some extra miles, but still fun and found another hike for another day! The directions on some of these trail signs are misleading to say the least. Easy to follow the lava wall. That is the reason for only 4 stars. And it was steeper than I anticipated. I’m not in terrible shape, but it was definitely a good up hill workout

hiking
1 month ago

Make sure to take the Lake trail up and the PCT down to maximize views! Watch your steps coming down. Trail has slippery rubble. Burnt forest is strangely beautiful. A good reminder of how fragile our forest ecosystems are. The lakes are beautiful not too many people but the bugs are out.

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.

Awesome views the whole way but getting to both gold lake and green lakes are currently still snowed in wouldn’t attempt to do this till July as the temperature dropped to 25 overnight

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.

Hiked this last season was so beautiful

This was such a beautiful hike

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.

I loved this hike. Quiet and not crowded like some of the others in this area. It was a bit dusty in the beginning but the scenery more than made up for it.

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