Monday, August 8, 2016

Sisters Wilderness - Green Lakes Trail near Bend

Waterfall off spur on Green Lakes Trail
On my recent Oregon trip, I was lucky enough to spend three nights outside of Bend.  My family rented a beautiful home on the Deschutes river.  We spent most of the time sitting on the porch, watching the lazy river take tubers and paddlers by our deck, and sipping on a glass of wine.  It wouldn't be a real Freelance Adventurer vacation, however, without a sturdy hike.  This time I went with my parents, husband, and baby to hike the Green Lakes Trail.  This 9.3 mile out-and-back trail was a little too much for a 90 F afternoon, but we did enjoy over two miles in with views of river, waterfalls, and mountains which made the perfect hike.

Here's how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure:  Half Way Up the Green Lakes Trail (and back).

Getting there: The Green Lakes Trailhead is located 27 miles west of Bend on Century Drive.  It has a large parking lot (and overflow lot) but the lot is not marked.  There is an outhouse and well marked trailhead at the end of the parking lot.  Visitors must have a national forest parking pass.

Trail: The trail starts from the parking lot.  There is a sign that marks the way.  We initially crossed Fall Creek on a log bridge and then steadily walked uphill.  The moderate trail was dusty and graded.  There were few obstacles.  It winds through a pine forest and stays parallel to the river.  After about 30 minutes of walking (maybe 0.5-1 mile up), we took a spur path on the right to see an impressive waterfall.  The spur was not marked, but listen for the water noise increase (it wasn't visible from the trail).  The steep 50 ft spur trail takes you down to the base of the falls.  The spray felt AMAZING on the hot day.  Continuing back up, we reached the intersection of Moraine and Green Lake Trail at 2 miles.  We went a little further and were rewarded with views of a meadow, wildflowers and nice views of Broken Top Mountain.  After a water and snack break we decided to head back.  All-in-all I think we did about 5-6 miles.  It was a wonderful hike and I'd love to go back and make it to the lakes!

Horses and Dogs are allowed on the trail.

Log Bridge at start of trail
Difficulty:  Moderate


- Bring lots of water!  We traveled on a July day that started in the 60s and ended in the high 90s.  It was dry and hot!  There was no water available for refill at the trailhead.

- Get to the trailhead early.  It was a popular hike and even at 10 am the parking lot was packed.

- Dogs and horses are allowed.

We loved our family hike with three generations!  It was a great way to enjoy central Oregon Cascade views and get outside!

Fall Creek and South Sister in the Background
View of Broken Top Mountain

You might also enjoy these adventures:
Crossing another log bridge

- Crossing the Cascades

- Oregon Coast Day Trip

- A Day at Cannon Beach

- Portland, Oregon - Bikes, Beers, and Baristas

Fall Creek Cowboy