South Sister

A 13-mile scramble with nearly 5,000 feet of gain to 10,358 feet in Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness. From the summit, enjoy dramatic views of Broken Top, Middle Sister, North Sister, Mount Bachelor and on a clear day Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood. The mountain also contains one of the highest alpine lakes in the northwest.

getting there

From US-97 in Bend, take Exit 138 for Mt. Bachelor, turn right onto NW Colorado Ave, and take the 2nd exit at the traffic circle to stay on NW Colorado Ave. Take the 3rd exit at next traffic circle onto SW Century Dr (SR-372), and then the 2nd exit at the fourth traffic circle to stay on SW Century Dr. Continue 20.8 miles on SW Century Dr, which become the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, to the Devil's Lake Campground and South Sister trailhead (5,500 ft).

approach & ascent

For a one-day summer scramble to the summit, cross the highway (5,450 feet) and proceed up the South Sisters climbers trail.  It goes between Devils Hill and Kaleetan Butte. The trail leaves the forest after 1.5 miles and intersects a second trail. Moraine Lake is to the right (east), and Wickiup Plain is to the left (west). Ignore both and proceed north across a sparsely wooded plateau  known as "the golf course." About three miles from the trail head, the trail becomes a climber's path. Continue north toward the Lewis Glacier on steep scree. Near 8,800 feet, at the western edge of the Lewis’ terminal moraine, skirt the glacier on its left, passing one of the highest lakes in the region. Follow the south ridge 1,400 feet up a slope of red volcanic scree. At the top of the slope, proceed to climber's right, around the eastern rim to the true summit on the northeastern side.


  • Guidebook: Best Climbs: Cascade Volcanoes by Jeff Smoot (FalconGuides 2012).
  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 5, Technical 3
  • Length: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,900 ft
  • 10,358 ft
  • USGS South Sister, OR
  • Green Trails Bend - Three Sisters No. 622SX
  • Green Trails Broken Top No. 622

Upcoming Activities

Alpine Scramble - South Sister

Scrambling Trip
Maybe a winter scramble, maybe a long all depends on the weather.
Difficulty: Strenuous 5, Technical 2
Sat, Jun 29, 2024
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
1 participant on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closes Jun 27
Seattle Branch
Annora Ayer
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