Green Lakes

Green Lakes and South Sister

  • Moderate
  • 8.4 miles round trip
  • 1100 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July through October
  • Use: hikers, horses

This classic route to the famous alpine basin of the Green Lakes is a little shorter and more accessible than the less-used Broken Top trail (Hike #55). The path up Fall Creek has other charms as well, for it leads past a string of waterfalls and through a strangely idyllic canyon walled by an enormous lava flow. Although the trail is dusty from extremely heavy use (up to 150 people a day), you can avoid the worst traffic by skipping August and September weekends. From July 15 to September, dogs are allowed on leash only.

The popularity of the fragile alpine meadows around the Green Lakes has brought other restrictions as well. Many lakeshores are closed to entry as restoration areas. Campfires are banned throughout the entire basin. Tents are allowed only at 28 posted, designated sites—and these are sometimes full.

To find the trailhead, drive …

Other Options

If you’d like to return a different way to your car—and if you don’t mind …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.