South Sister is a Destination Hike

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Bend Premier Real Estate 200009031

South Sister in Oregon's Cascades is a Challenge!

Probably one of the most hiked mountains in the Cascades, South Sister, while not a technical hike, is a challenge. In roughly 5.5 miles, hikers climb 5000 feet to the summit of Oregon's third highest peak at 10,358 feet. In the 35 years we have lived in Bend, we had never hiked South Sister until Saturday, October 3, 2020, thinking that the normal summer crowds would be gone by then. We were surprised to find out that was not the case.

We started our hike at Devil's Lake off Cascade Lakes Highway at 6:45 am. The first mile and a half was in wooded old growth forest, but the trail climbed steeply through the hemlocks and opened up once we reached the plains overlooking Moraine Lake. There the view of South Sister became prominent. Even that early in the morning we met people coming down from the mountain, having enjoyed watching the sunrise from the peak.

Past Moraine Lake, the rocky trail started to climb steeply. We had to carefully watch where we stepped and made sure our footing was secure. There was several places where the trail wasn't clearly defined and we had to pick and choose our way up the mountain. Climbing up over a moraine, we reached the final stop before the last push up the saddle to the summit at Lewis Glacier and its lake. The trek to the top is very slow and steep with loose rock and cinders - and on the trip down many, many people to step around. Once we passed 10,000 feet, we got above the inversion that moved into Central Oregon with high pressure and trapped smoke from the wildfires still burning in the area. This impacted our views from the top - which we have been told are fabulous for hundreds of miles - but did create interested images to see the effect of smoke and bad air quality.  

According to forest service personnel, starting next year, the hike up South Sister will be by permit only to limit the number of people on the mountain at one time. Based on our experience, that will be a positive move. The hike is challenging enough, but it can be dangerous having to step around people on parts of the trail where loose stones and cinders along with steep slopes can create hazardous situations. We returned to our car at 5 pm, having taken all day to hike up and back the 5000 feet with sore muscles but satisfaction at finally having reached the summit.

Lewis Glacier South Sister
Teardrop Pool Middle and North Sister
 Lewis Glacier  South Sister Hike
 

Comments (16)

Michael Wayne Jackson
Coldwell Banker - Novato, CA
Broker - Seniors Real Estate Specialist Novato

These are breathtaking photos. Thank you for sharing this.

Oct 06, 2020 03:14 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Lynnea,  Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.  This sounds like a challenging, yet worthwhile trip.

Oct 06, 2020 05:31 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lynnea:

Sounds like a hiker's dream! Your photos are amazing...how could anyone resist hiking here after reading this beautiful post!

Jeff

Oct 06, 2020 10:07 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

And I think walking Holly four blocks is a challenge?:))  go figure it is all about perspective, Endre

Oct 06, 2020 11:02 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Lynnea.

If it is challenging for you, it would be downright impossible, for me

Oct 07, 2020 12:54 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Lynnea... what an amazing place. I'm so glad I have you to hike these gorgeous places and report back to me to enjoy.

Oct 07, 2020 05:51 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Nina Hollander . This hike was the hardest yet, but satisfying in the accomplishment. I would love to see some of the hikes North Carolina have.  Probably not the elevation change we have in Oregon, but I have heard there are some beautiful places to see there.

Oct 07, 2020 10:32 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Lynnea Miller I understand there are great places to hike in NC... but I wouldn't know first-hand. 

Oct 08, 2020 11:57 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi James Dray . I have to admit that most of the people hiking South Sister were 30 years younger than me.  But it felt good being able to keep up, and in some cases, pass them.

Oct 07, 2020 10:34 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Endre Barath, Jr. My husband and I started actively hiking this year when Covid stopped all our other weekend activities. No concerts, no plays, no vacations...we were left with really exploring where we live and we have enjoyed it.

Oct 07, 2020 10:35 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS . I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Taking them and the hikes are what my husband and I do on Saturdays now that Covid has stopped most of our other fun activities.

Oct 07, 2020 10:40 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Bob Crane .  It was a challenging hike - the hardest I have done this year, but I feel good that we were able to keep up with people a lot younger than us doing the same.

Oct 07, 2020 10:46 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Michael Wayne Jackson .  Thanks for reading my blog and enjoying the photos. 

Oct 07, 2020 10:47 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Lynnea,

The photos you shared are breathtaking.  I am certain the altitude  makes it harder to keep climbing.  What a beautiful state you live in!  A

Oct 07, 2020 12:25 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Ron and Alexandra Seigel .  We do live in a beautiful state.  Thank you for reading the blog. It was interesting getting above the inversion.  Reminded me of going up in an airplane and getting high enough to see the horizon.

Oct 07, 2020 03:14 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Lynnea now that it finally started to cool down here in Los Angeles,  Holly and I might  increase our walking distance:) Endre

Oct 08, 2020 10:54 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hi Endre Barath, Jr. Walking is such a great exercise an a terrific way to see things that pass too quickly when you drive by. Hope you enjoy your longer walks this fall.

Oct 09, 2020 09:51 AM

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