Probably one of the most popular hikes in Central Oregon is the trail from Century Drive via Fall Creek up to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness. This nine mile round trip gains 1500 feet elevation, crossing the creek three times, but is relatively easy to moderate for most hikers. Hundreds of people will take this hike on sunny summer days and the enjoyment of the beauty of Green Lakes is one of the "must dos" for many Central Oregon visitors. During our years in Central Oregon, we have taken this hike often and have enjoyed the experience every time, despite the increased traffic on the trail.
Last Saturday we decided to hike the alternative trail to Green Lakes. This trail starts at the same parking lot as the Fall Creek trail, but instead travels via Soda Springs up the south side of Broken Top. We had never hiked this trail before and really enjoyed the unexpected views and relatively few people we saw in the early part of the hike. We started the hike at 7:40 am and for the first few miles, we believe we were the first and only people on the trail that morning. The trail joins with one coming from Todd Lake which eventually splits from the Green Lakes trail to the trail to hike Broken Top to No Name Lake. We saw a number of people taking this trek and debated whether or not Broken Top should be our destination, but decided to stay with our original plan and traveled to Green Lakes. In this stretch of the trail we saw a number of people hiking from Green Lakes, either with Broken Top as their destination or the Soda Springs trailhead we had started from.
Once we reached Green Lakes, we enjoyed the views for a while before returning to our car via the traditional Fall Creek trail. We passed hundreds of people coming up this trail as we hiked down. Next year Green Lakes will be accessible by permit only which should limit the numbers visiting this beautiful location. Hiking to Green Lakes via Soda Springs increased our trek by roughly three very enjoyable miles and we look forward to taking this hike again - but this next time to Broken Top. Original blog can be read at Bend Premier Real Estate.