Three Sisters Loop Backpacking

Sisters, Oregon 97759

Three Sisters Loop Backpacking

Three Sisters Loop (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"One of Oregon’s greatest long backpacking trips, this route completely circles the Three Sisters, providing ever-changing views of these beautiful siblings. It also visits lesser-known family members (Little Brother, The Husband, and The Wife)—and craggy Broken Top, an apparent outcast, without family ties. The basic loop is unsurpassed, and countless side trips visit even more lakes, high meadows, and viewpoints.

A hiker could spend weeks here and never tire of the scenery or run out of places to explore. So get your permit and savor this area. Volcanic features dominate the landscape. In addition to rugged lava flows, cinder cones, and glasslike obsidian, you’ll also see pumice meadows. Formed when enormous quantities of pumice bury an area, these meadows have sparse vegetation and no surface water. Examples of this geologic oddity include Racetrack Meadows and Wickiup Plain."

Three Sisters Loop (Backpacking) Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon5 Total
Entered the loop from Pole Creek Trailhead. Short cutted Linton Meadows on the PCT and also Sisters Mirror Lake. This makes the loop 45.5 miles. The best trail you will find, by far, in Central Oregon. 8.9 mile the first night and 36.6 miles the second day. Finished the trail in the dark with a flashlight the last hour and a half. The trail map was useful, but I have been in some of these areas before and knew my way around. I also used my PCT book to get points of interest on the West side of the trail. Will do this trail again in a couple weeks without rain, but clockwise.
What short part of the trail I saw I can say that the scenery was amazing. You go threw forest, lava beds to high meadows blanketed in obsidian and would have loved to complete the full loop to see what else it had to offer. But this map is needless to say, horrible. It fails to list key points of interest, rivers and short cuts that are required when navigating a trail with this many side trails. On top of not listing things that the map actually has on it, it lacks a good number of actual short cuts that are useful. In my opinion if you were to lay a current or at least a correct map on top of this one it would look like two different maps. If you are planning on doing this trail I would highly recommend acquiring another map.
Entered and exited at Mirror Lake Trail Head and headed clockwise for the 5 day trip. Lots of mosquitos in the Mirror Lakes area but not bad on the rest of the loop. Incredible views of the Sisters, Broken Top, Bachelor and surrounding mountains. Great wildflowers, too! Very dry on the northern part of the loop between Obsidian and Alder Creeks. Included a climb to the Summit of South Sister so really made for a long trek but worth every moment! Especially nice going during the week when fewer people are out on the trails!
Seven Days on the trail from Obsidian Trailhead. Was just enough time. Climbed South Sister. Fires in Yapoah region, some trails were closed. More day traffic than we expected. Favorite campsites at Moraine Lake and S. Mathieu. Would have loved to get to Chambers Lake but not enough time. Hiked with 10 y.o son. Loved being in the presence of the Sisters for a week. No wildlife sightings (other than a dog or two).
9/9/2005 has been informed that the best number to use to reach the ranger station is 541-549-7700, not the one listed in the complete guide. Be sure to use the updated one instead.

Three Sisters Loop (Backpacking) Photos

Help others discover amazing sights!

Trail Information

Nearby City
8,200 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
5-6 days
Usually open mid-July to October; best in August
Sisters Ranger District
Local Contacts
Geographics - Three Sisters Wilderness
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018