9.6 miles round trip
500 feet elevation loss
Open August to mid-October
Use: hikers, horses
The three green lakes in this famed alpine basin reflect South Sister on one side and Broken Top on the other. The picturesque valley also features a glassy lava flow, wildflower meadows, gigantic springs, and a waterfall. But beauty has brought crowds, and crowds have brought restrictions. Several overused lakeshore areas are roped off for restoration. Campfires are banned. Tents are allowed only in 28 posted, designated sites—and these are sometimes full. To avoid the largest crowds, skip August and September weekends. From July 1 through September, dogs are allowed on leash only.
This trail to the Green Lakes is quieter and less steep than the Fall Creek route (Hike #56), and it has better mountain views. Road access, however, is terrible.
Drive the Cascade Lakes Highway west...