South Sister And Broken Top

South Sister and Broken Top are mountain peaks in Oregon's Three Sister's Wilderness, which are both accessible by day hikers. South Sister is commonly summited via the Devil's Lake Trailhead, while Broken Top can be reached from the Green Lakes, Todd Lake, Crater Ditch, or Broken Top trailheads.

Both hikes are popular, and you should check ahead for permits if you intend to visit within May through September. The Three Sisters area gets a considerable amount of snow through the winter, and you may encounter snow on the trail through July or even August at higher elevations. South Sister has an elevation of 10,363 feet, and Broken Top is at 9,117 feet. Both mountains are home to glaciers, though the remaining glaciers have shrunk considerably in recent years.
Heart-shaped rock with Broken Top in the backgroundNo-Name Lake on Broken Top
We hiked Broken Top from the Todd Lake trailhead, which was about a 16 mile out-and-back. You'll climb through alpine meadows to reach No Name lake in a basin below the summit. It's difficult to reach the summit from this side of the mountain, and a safer scramble can be found on the north side via Green Lakes.

Broken Top has two glaciers, both of which can be seen on this hike. Crook glacier is nestled in a rocky pocket visible from the south, and Bend glacier can be seen from the ridge above No Name Lake. The day we were on Broken Top, the ice on Bend glacier was actively moving and cracking, sending echoes throughout the lake basin.
Spire of Broken Top near the summitLooking north from South Sister
The South Sister summit is a beautiful but strenuous hike, gaining about 4.5k feet of elevation on a 12 mile round trip. Beginning near Lewis glacier cirque lake (about 1.5 miles from the summit), the trail becomes very steep and there are sections of scree. The peak of South Sister is a relatively flat, circular dome with a small, glacial lake in the center (Teardrop Pool). A rocky trail encircles the lake, which you can use to loop around the entire summit before descending back down the climber trail.

The views from the summit are absolutely incredible, with the best found on the north side. Looking north, you can see the Middle and North Sisters, glacially fed lakes, and other peaks of Oregon's cascades (Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood on a clear day). The three deep blue lakes to the northeast are a part of the Chambers Lakes Basin, another beautiful are of the Three Sisters Wilderness

I definitely recommend both these hikes, but if you are able to do just one, pick South Sister - although you'll need to be lucky to snag one of the incredibly popular permits.
Middle and North Sister, Central OregonTeardrop Glacier, South Sister
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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.