Summary: This is a hike that almost anyone do, but it also is a work-out. No special equipment is needed (like ropes), but dress for all ocasions as the weather can be different from the bottom of the hike to the top. From the " " camp ground take the clearly marked trail. Follow the trail back over the road to the point where the trail rises sharply up the hill. It levels out at the Morain Lake turn-off at the tree-line. Then starts a level walk for about 1/2 mile until the climb starts again. The trail gets a little hard to follow through the rock field as your reach the false summit where you get a great view, of Broken Top and Mt. Bachlor. Then it is the final push through a steep red lava field. On the top it is a walk around the volcano rim to the highest point and a great view of the Middle and North Sisters. About 5 hours up and 3 hours down with plenty of rests or it can be done much faster.
Trailhead: From Bend Oregon take Colorado Lake Drive to past Mt. Bachlor ski resort (follow signs to Mt. Bachlor) don't turn into the ski resort but stay on the main road until you see the turn off on the left for Devil's Lake camp ground. Trail head is clearly marked. (Lat:44.03463 Lon:-121.76455)
Trail Guides for South Sister:
Best Seasons: Fall, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: US Forest Service
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Craig Cole, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Ken on 10/7/2015
My third trip this year. First two were barefoot. Today I wore trail running shoes, and I was at the summit in under 3 hours. Less than two hours down. Overall, it was 1.5 hours faster than doing it barefoot. BTW, trail is totally doable barefoot when weather permits. Never the slightest injury. Overall this is strenuous and a big day hike. But it's not that big. A big day is 25+ miles and 7000+ of elevation, IMHO. South Sister is part of my local repertoire of vertical hikes. Others are Mt. Bachelor, Black Butte (lower TH), Black Crater (nice trail run), Mt Tumalo, and the PCT in the Sisters Wilderness.
Reviewed by SDM on 7/1/2015
Great view, icy, did it in Vibrams. Will take ax and poles next time.
Reviewed by ARS on 9/23/2014
This isn't a day hike, it's a day long hike. Please don't take your dog up, it would not be fun for them and the trail is full of sharp rocks that even with hiking booties will hurt your dogs paws. It can also be very windy and 20 to 30 degrees colder at the top than from Moranie lake. Take plenty of water, you will sweat the entire time. Poles are suggested for the downhill portion is the hike - trust me your knees will thank you. I hiked this yesterday and boy was it windy! This is also a dangerous hike for kids, the wind and steep climb at the top combine to make the narrow path above the glacier fairly dangerous at times. The view at the top is amazing and if your aren't winded already, the landscape views will take your breath awa
Reviewed by Goose on 9/27/2009
I do a fair amount of running and cycling which helped make the ascent not too difficult. It was the descent that really took a toll on the legs. Spectacular view at the top for sure!
Reviewed by Dave on 9/24/2009
Great hike! A definite must-do for any enthusiast. Be sure to take trekking poles and gaiters. For the complete experience circumambulate the summit crater prior to descending.
Reviewed by Anne37 on 9/22/2009
Unrivaled views, probably the best I've seen in the Cascades. My time was 5 brutal hours up, 3 tedious hours down, but don't be fooled: this is a very strenuous day hike... although the flat stretch across Wickiup Plain is a nice treat. Leave at dawn, and go fast and light - I treated water chemically at Lewis Glacier so as to carry less going up. The elevation gain is considerable, but I was exhausted more from the scree slog on the way up - you might want to bring gaiters and shoes or boots with good ankle support so that you can shuffle down through the scree quickly.
Reviewed by harold on 2/18/2009
Failed to summit the first time (at age 58). Trained better and have summited 5 times since. The view is beyond spectacular, people are friendly on the trail, and its a great workout. Can't imagine a better way to spend a summer day. Advice: you'll have a better experience if you do some training such as running or extended walks especially up hills.
Reviewed by todd on 5/18/2008
my five day trip began at south sister and continued north to green lakes. day 2 golden lake. day 3 Camp lake which was a must see to believe. day 4 between the south and middle sister to mesa creek. day 5 moraine lake. This was the most beautiful extended trip so far!!
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