THREE SISTERS MOUNTAIN THREE SISTERS WILDERNESS, OR
LESSER KNOWN THAN the Timberline Trail, but no less grand—that’s the beauty of this loop around the North, Middle, and South Sisters. The underrated circuit takes you through moss-crusted forests of lodgepole pine with peekaboo looks at the rocky hulks of Cascade volcanoes, totaling only 7,000 feet of elevation gain in 48 easybreezy miles. Take it slow, savoring lakeside campsites that seem to float below the trio of glacier-mantled, 10,000-foot peaks.
From the Lava Camp Lake trailhead, follow the Pacific Crest Trail 2.3 miles south before bearing east onto the Scott Pass Trail, which twists through meadows with views of North Sister. Peel onto the Green Lakes Trail to land a campsite near Squaw Creek beneath Middle and South Sisters at mile 11.5. Next day, climb to 7,000-foot Green Lakes Pass (mile 17.5), nestled between South Sister and 9,175foot Broken Top, a separate volcano that doesn’t get to be part of the family but should. At mile 21.6, veer onto the Moraine Lake Trail to camp beside the route’s quietest pool at mile 23. Next morning, cross
Wickiup Plain around domed South Sister and link back up with the PCT at mile 27. Pass black obsidian hillsides on the way to Glacier Creek (mile 38) for your last night, then close the circuit around North Sister and its receding Collier Glacier.
Trailhead Lava Camp Lake Season June to September Permits Required: Northwest Forest Pass ($30; store .usgs.gov/forest-pass); Obsidian Limited Entry Area ($10; recreation.gov); and wilderness (free; self-issue at trailhead). Climb South Sister South Ridge (class 3); gain 5,000 feet in 5.8 miles from Devils Lake trailhead Contact www.fs.usda.gov/willamette
From Opie Dilldock Pass (mile 40), take a short spur to Collier Cone for this view of North (left) and Middle Sisters.