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Bend, OR: South Sister via Obsidian Trail

or

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 21.8 miles


Link pumice and obsidian fields with expansive alpine meadows on this challenging trek to the top of South Sister, a glacier-capped volcano in the Cascade Range.
  • North Sister
  • Obsidian and Pumice
  • North and Middle Sister
  • The Husband
  • Mesa Creek Meadows
  • The Wife
  • Rock Mesa Obsidian Flow
  • Wickiup Plains
  • Broken Top
  • South Sister
  • Broken Top
  • False Summit
  • Summit Views
  • Summit of South Sister

Twenty miles west of Bend, the rugged, glacier-covered slopes of South Sister rise dramatically above Deschutes National Forest. The tallest of a trio of volcanoes known as the Three Sisters (and Oregon's third tallest peak), South Sister's summit reveals dramatic views across the Cascade Range.

Start this challenging trek at Frog Campground and head southeast on the Obsidian Trail. You'll gain roughly 5,500 feet of elevation and travel from forested landscapes to stark slopes covered with volcanic pumice and obsidian. After 20 miles, rest by a small lake on South Sister's false summit before the final, 1-mile push to the summit (which gains almost 2,000 feet of elevation). Savor the sky-high views from the crater rim—Middle Sister, North Sister (and Mount Hood, on very clear days) can be seen to the north—then follow the same route back to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Trung Q. Le

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