Chambers Lake Basin

19 miles, 3,000 feet gain

The hike to Chambers Lake Basin starts at the Pole Creek Trailhead, in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Lucky for you (and us), the Pole Creek Trailhead does not require a permit for day hikers, but only for overnight use. From the trailhead, you'll be hiking through an exposed, dry burn for several miles, until you are within a mile of Camp Lake. There a couple creek crossings along the way, if you need water.

After the North Fork Whychus creek crossing, there's a short side trail to Demaris Lake, a reflective lake with a view of South Sister. Don't feel too bad if you skip this one, as the views are better around Camp Lake.
Demaris Lake, Three Sisters Wilderness
It'll take you about 8 miles to reach Camp Lake - along the way you'll get panoramic views of the Three Sisters. Smoke from summer wildfires (unfortunately a common occurrence in recent years) created a fine haze the day I was hiking, and gave the mountains an ethereal look.

Camp Lake has (surprise, surprise!) a few campsites to pick from. These are all unimproved, backcountry campsites. If you do intend to camp here, remember that a permit is required for overnight use in the Three Sisters Wilderness. It's an gorgeous spot to camp, and you'll allow yourself more time to explore.

Looking up at South Sister from Camp Lake. Due to the hot summer we had, there's less snow than usual for this time of year.
Camp Lake, Three Sisters Wilderness
If you decide to continue on from Camp Lake, consider bringing GPS and a topo-trail map. The trails from this point are not maintained, and in some areas do not exist at all. If you want to fully explore the basin, be prepared to add approximately 3-5 miles to your round-trip, accompanied by steep climbing on rocks/scree.

Hiking up the ridge towards South Sister brings you to Sapphire and Turquoise lakes. These lakes get their color from glacial silt suspended in the water column, which reflects the light to create brilliant blue hues. Chambers Lake itself can be reached by heading towards the saddle between South Sister and Middle Sister. There's not much a trail here, but the alpine area is open and easy to navigate.

I definitely recommend camping up here, but it's a struggle to snag one of the extremely limited permits. As a day hike, I didn't have enough time to fully traverse the basin. Hiking the saddle has incredible (so I've heard) views, more so on a clear day.

Middle Sister from Camp Lake, Three Sisters Wilderness

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Thanks for visiting our travel blog, Trails And Trekking! We're Lauren and Anders - an adventure loving couple currently stationed in the Pacific Northwest. We're avid hikers, backpackers, and travelers. We're both originally from Oregon, but we've spent the last two years traveling the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We created this blog to share our passion for exploring the outdoors, and to inspire you to get outside.