Three Sisters Wilderness

Located in the Deschutes and the Willamette National Forests in Oregon.

The 242,400-acre Three Sisters Wilderness area ranges in elevation from 2,000 to 10,358 feet.

Topography: Major peaks are the North, Middle, and South- Sisters (all above 10,000 feet), along with Broken Top, the best example in the Pacific Northwest of the effect of glaciation. Collier Glacier is the largest glacier in Oregon. Other geologic features include Rock Mesa, Collier Cone, and Yapoah Crater. Alpine meadows, waterfalls, lava fields, glaciers, and glacial lakes are abundant. Fish populations include brook and rainbow trout.

Trails: There are approximately 260 miles of trail within the wilderness. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses the wilderness for 40 miles. Most trails begin in dense forests of Douglas-fir on the western slopes of the Cascades and ponderosa pine on the eastern slopes.

Vegetation: Forest in this wilderness consists mainly of Douglas-fir, silver fir, sub-alpine fir, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, true fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. Alpine meadows are abundant.

Access: Three Sisters Wilderness can be reached from the Willamette Valley by the Old McKenzie Highway (State 242) and from Central Oregon by the Cascade Lakes Highway (State 46). Many trailheads access the wilderness.

High-Use Areas: Green Lakes, Obsidian, Sunshine, Erma Bell Lakes, and the South Sister climbing trail. Recreational use in Three Sisters Wilderness is the highest of all wildernesses in the Willamette National Forest. Use has doubled from 1982 to 1992.

For further information contact: The Deschutes and the Willamette National Forests.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 17 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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