Obsidian Trail

North Sister from Obsidian Trail

  • Difficult
  • 12-mile loop
  • 1800 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July through October
  • Use: hikers, horses

The Obsidian Trail leads to Sunshine, one of the most beautiful and heavily used alpine areas in Oregon. Brooks meander through the wildflower meadows nestled here between Middle Sister and Little Brother. Snowmelt tarns shimmer from plateaus strewn with black obsidian glass.

To limit crowds, the Forest Service requires that people headed for the area within a mile or two of Obsidian Falls get a special permit in advance. Permits for the entire summer are available beginning at 7am Pacific Time on May 1 at www.recreation.gov or 1-877-444-6777. Because permits are issued to a limited number of groups for each day, summer weekends fill fast. Also note that Wilderness rangers strictly enforce a total ban on campfires, and that tents are prohibited within 100 feet of trails or water. To find the trailhead, drive …

Other Options

For a challenging 15-mile loop through the best of this area’s volcanic landscape, …

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

Middle Sister from the spring above Obsidian Falls