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South Sister

based on 596 tracks & routes #6 hike out of 346 in
11.6 mi
Distance
5 hrs 3 min
Time
terrain
4,823 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a moderate to strenuous loop trail to South Sister in Deschutes National Forest.

Edit: Whomever posted a 5.6 hour round trip must be operating under the following conditions:
1 - summer season with snow largely absent (August or later)
2 - very fit young person with mountain running exeperience
3- excellent weather allowing for light clothing and gear
4 - bragging

This trip with full snow conditions (ice axe, crampons, winter gear) is a very strenuous all-day or even overnight situation. In any season, running shoes are totally inappropriate. The lava is rough and steep. You'll cross steep snow until very late in the season, and need to kick steps or use those in place, which can be slick. Minimum footgear hiking shoes with traction devices. The trail is not easy to find in places with snow- download the Gaia track.

Parking on the roadway is not a great idea. It only adds ¼ mile of easy walking to park at the parking lot, which has a toilet, and doesn't expose your car to every passing driver.


Sights to See


    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Please contact me if you find a petzl summit Ice axe. Left up there yesterday. Much appreciated. 8045646229
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    user_profile
    1 year, 3 months ago
    We enjoyed this hike! It is a great summer trail. Make sure to start early before 5am to beat the crowds and the heat. Pack plenty of water and don't forget a hat! After the first section in tree line, the trail becomes very exposed, hot, and dry. We attempted a summit around early July and there was snow, but overall minimal minus one small snowfield we had to cross, and one near the false summit area. We brought an ice axe and our crampons and micro spikes just in case, but didn't end up needing them. We did the hike in one day. Made for a long day. It took us approximately 7 or 8 hours with plenty of breaks. It is common to start the hike in afternoon or evening before, backpack and camp along the route, and summit during sunrise. Beautiful hike with 360 views of cascade volcanoes. Definitely worth the trek for expansive views. We brought our pup, but she got quite hot. Make sure to bring enough water for them, trail snacks, and booties for their feet. Check out our Three Sisters Video on our channel: https://youtu.be/haepkHHcJc8 https://www.youtube.com/HelenandTimTravel/videos
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    user_profile
    2 years, 8 months ago
    This was a great hike, both challenging and very scenic. We spent 11 hours on the mountain so be prepared for a good workout. Bring plenty of water (we had 4 liters) and food (burned about 4500 calories). Also, trekking poles and gators will be especially handy in the deep scree and volcanic rock. The scenery was diverse, volcanic landscapes, glacial lakes and views of the Sisters, Broken Top and Bachelor.
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    user_profile
    3 years, 7 months ago
    I did this hike with my son back in 2000 just before he left to go to graduate school at the University of North Carolina. It was a wonderful father/son experience. It still remains so after 20 years. Shortly afterwards my wife and I gave him a framed photograph of the sisters so he could show his North Carolina colleagues what real mountains look like.
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    user_profile
    3 years, 11 months ago
    Strenuous & steep, but well worth the views (we luckily had great visibility yesterday). Exposed trail after the first 1.5 miles. Hiking poles definitely recommended! The 3 dogs in our group made it to the summit with us without any issue. Pack extra water for them as it is scarce along the way.
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    3 months, 3 weeks ago
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Public Tracks

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Cathy K 3 years, 7 months ago
South Sister
Fun climb. We camped at Devils Lake Campground Sunday, 8/23/2020 and left at 4:40am Monday, 8/24/2920 to beat the heat and the crowds. Straightforward route. Trail is sandy. Last 2 miles are rocky and lots of scree. Once you reach the false summit, you will see the trail wind up to the top. Once in top, follow the trail to the right to reach the highest elevation. (We saw people walking across the “snow” in the summit crater. They soon realized it was melting ice and had trouble figuring out where to go. Another person stepped onto the snow and went in up to their knee. To late in the season to cross the summit crater.) It was windy on top. But there are places to get out if the wind. Good views of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. Smoke prevented us from seeing further. Met lots of trail runners as well as hikers on the way down. Trekking poles are very helpful on this climb/hike.
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Keith Daly 14 years, 7 months ago
South Sister Summit
We hike quite a lot - but this trail is a whole other animal. Though it's not a technical climb, you're gaining 4,900 feet in about 6 miles if you hike all the way to the top. We invited ourselves along with some friends who were going on what turned out to be the perfect day weather wise. Making it to the top wasn't meant to be this trip; next time!
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Solohiker35 4 years, 9 months ago
South Sisters Summit 6/28/19 2:19:06 AM
South sisters summit OR 6/28/19 12.12 miles with 4927 elevation gain. 17.32hrs total time and 10.09hrs moving time. With group of 5.
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foreverlivespre 4 years, 7 months ago
South Sister descent (8/24/19, 9:35:26AM)
With Ben and Robert. Ben first time hiking.
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