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Three Sisters

The famous three volcanoes of the Cascades


Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin
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The Three Sisters are mountain peaks that belong to the Cascade Volcanic Arc. The South Sister erupted about 2,000 years ago, and it's possible that it could erupt again. With an elevation of more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft), they occupy the third, fourth, and fifth place among Oregon's peaks by their height. Surrounded by Three Sisters Wilderness and the Willamette and Deschutes national forests, the mountains are located 16 km (10 mi) from the town of Sisters, named after them. If you like long hikes, there is a popular trail around the Three Sisters that takes a few days. The 77-km (48-mi) Three Sisters Loop features scenic lava fields, alpine meadows, and streams. The best time for hiking is from late July through October for snow-free trails and more stable weather. August and September are the busiest months.

Faith or North Sister is the oldest volcano with an elevation of 3,075 m (10,090 ft). Its last eruption was about 46,000 years ago. It is considered to be the hardest to climb. But, experienced climbers can try their luck with this mountain. There is the Obsidian Trail from the west and the Pole Creek Springs and another trail from the east. These trails meet at the final ridge.

Hope or the Middle Sister, 3,064 m (10, 052 ft) is a cone-shaped mountain covered in snow and ice that rises above forested areas. It last erupted about 48,000 years ago. It features Hayden, Diller, Renfrew, and Collier Glaciers, which contain about 700 million cubic feet of ice. The most accessible trail to the summit is the North Ridge Route that starts from Hayden Glacier on the eastern side or Collier Glaciers on the west. Climbers will pass a saddle between North and Middle Sister and will have to walk on snow.

Charity or the South Sister is the tallest with 3,159 m (10,363 ft) of elevation. There is an uneroded crater with a diameter of about 0.4 km (0.25 mi). The crater features Teardrop Pool, the highest lake in Oregon. You can climb the mountain from Devils Lake Trailhead. Hikers pass a footbridge, hemlock forest, and a sandy plateau.

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