Best time to visit Oregon

Three Sisters in Oregon

The famous three volcanoes of the Cascades

Best time: late July–October

Three Sisters
Three Sisters
Three Sisters

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.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit the Three Sisters in Oregon?

For snow-free trails and more stable weather, it's best to visit the Three Sisters in Oregon from late July through October. August and September tend to be the busiest months, so it's necessary to obtain permits for overnight camping since the Three Sisters Wilderness requires it. Hikers should consult weather forecasts to plan their outing, as this period offers the best visibility and fall foliage views. Show more

Where exactly are the Three Sisters located in Oregon?

Situated in the Cascade Range, the Three Sisters are in the US state of Oregon, about 16 km away from Sisters. These mountains' volcanic origin is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with each peak exceeding 3000 meters in elevation, ranking third, fourth, and fifth in height in Oregon. They are in a protected area and are popular among tourists and hikers because of their proximity to the Three Sisters Wilderness and national parks. Show more

How long does it take to hike the Three Sisters Loop?

To complete the Three Sisters Loop, hikers must travel 77 kilometers (48 miles) of beautiful lava fields, streams, and alpine meadows covering a distance that typically requires 3 to 5 days. The trail is moderately challenging due to varying elevations and some steep parts, so hikers should have correct gear, hiking experience, and prepare to camp overnight. Late July through October is the best time to hike the trail. Show more

What is the most accessible trail to climb up to the summit of Hope or the Middle Sister?

To ascend to the summit of either Hope or the Middle Sister, the North Ridge Route is the most accessible trail. Climbers walk through the eastern Hayden Glacier or the west Collier Glacier and pass a saddle between the two mountains. Despite being steep, the North Ridge approach provides spectacular views, and climbers with the appropriate gear and experience should take precautions such as crossing crevasses and hiking on the snow and ice to ensure safety. Show more

Has any of the Three Sisters erupted recently?

The most recent eruption of the Three Sisters occurred in the past, with the South Sister the most recent erupting about 2,000 years ago. Although it's possible that the South Sister could erupt again, it is not considered an immediate threat. To ensure the safety of hikers, experts conduct volcanic monitoring and research, and suitable safety protocols are in place to avoid areas prone to natural disasters. Show more

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