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Backpacker Magazine – January 2014

Destinations: Top 3 West

by: Shey Kiester

Photo By Vicky Kirkendall-Spring
Photo by BP0114W_Kirkendall-Spring_TolmiePeak_bjk445x260.jpg
Photo By Vicky Kirkendall-Spring

Willamette NF, OR
South Sister

Bag the highest peak in the Three Sisters Wilderness—and sweeping views of the Cascade Volcanic Arc—on this 5.5-mile, quad-burning dayhike that gains 5,000 feet. “It’s great for anyone who’s never climbed a mountain because it’s non-technical and you can do it in a day,” says Julia Troutt.
Take off on the South Sister Climbing Trail, ascending 700 feet in 1.5 miles through lush fir forests to your first vistas: 10,358-foot South Sister and 9,177-foot Broken Top. Push on 2.9 miles through red dogbane to a saddle overlooking .2-mile-long Lewis Glacier and an emerald lake.
From here, continue .7 mile to the summit. Soak in 360-degree views of aptly named Teardrop Pool (the state’s highest lake at nearly 10,300 feet), Mt. McLoughlin, Mt. Hood, and the Sister trio.

Trailhead 44.055229, -121.771004; 27 miles west of Bend off the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway INFO (541) 225-6300; fs.usda.gov/willamette

 




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