Middle Sister via the Obsidian Trailhead

Details

Distance

15 miles

Elevation Gain

6000 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Connor Charles

A beautiful hike and low-angle ascent lead to a beautiful view atop Oregon's Middle Sister.

The Three Sisters of Oregon is a renowned set of three peaks nestled tightly alongside one another in the middle of the Oregon Cascades.  Referred to as part of a single complex volcano they are all unique in their consistency.   North Sister extinct, Middle Sister is dormant, and South Sister having last erupted 2,000 years ago the diversity is unique and the landscape unparalleled.   

There are many adventures through the Three Sisters Wilderness Area but the Obsidian trail to the top of Middle Sister has some of the most amazing views.  From the Obsidian Trailhead to the climbers trail it is aprox 5 miles, the varying hike takes you through lava fields, quiet forest and exposed glens with great views of the surrounding landscape.   From their take the climbers trail through varying degrees of scree, boulders, sand and snow towards the col between North and Middle sister.  Make sure to stop and grab water prior to the ascent of the climbers trail as the sun will be stifling and the spots to grab water few and far between.  

Once to the col, follow the north ridge to the top of Middle sister.  At over 10,000ft, even in summer there can be ice or snow on this ascent so be sure to carry an axe and crampons to make the exposure less frightening.  All and all the ascent should be fairly straight forward and once you reach the top you will be rewarded with a spectacular view that reaches peak to peak, the Pole Creek Wilderness and the Pacific.

If one is so obliged, many hikers spend the night on top of Middle Sister.  The top is relatively flat with good areas to post your sleeping bag, tent or pad.  If you do plan to stay the evening, make sure to bring your camera!

*The Obsidian Trail needs a special use permit to access visit the Deschutes National Forrest website to acquire one.

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Fitness
Camping
Photography
Running
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Groups
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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