img052bIf you are looking for a beautiful hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend, Oregon, perhaps you should try the day hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes. So grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydro Flask, check out these hiking tips, and get ready for a beautiful hike!

The trail meanders through alpine meadows and gives hikers fantastic views of Broken Top Mountain, and the South Sister. Because of snowfall in the area, many parts this trail are usually covered in snow until mid, or late July, so keep that in mind before attempting this hike. The trail can be extremely hard to follow when there is snow on the ground, so unless you know the area very well, don’t try this one until the snows have melted.

The hike from Todd Lake to Green lakes is a great alternative to the Broken Top Trail because you do not need a high-clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead. After parking in the Todd Lake parking area, walk up the trail toward Todd Lake to the wilderness registration station, and you will see the sign that marks the start of the Todd Lake Trail.

After you complete your Three Sisters Wilderness self-registration, you can just follow the trail and start climbing the slope east of the lake. While climbing you will have some views of the Todd Lake, as well as the surrounding mountains, so be sure to bring your camera.

The trail will level off after about a mile and you will pass through some meadows, and from there you will have fantastic views of Broken Top and South Sister as you walk along the forested trail.

Todd Lake to Green Lakes Photo Gallery

View photo gallery of a hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Todd Lake and Cascade Lakes Highway Photo Gallery

  View photo gallery of Todd Lake, and traveling the Cascade Lakes Highway

After a mile or so the trail will cross Soda Creek and you will enter a basin that is south of Broken Top. The Soda Creek Trail will cross from the left at a junction that is well marked, and you will continue straight ahead in the direction of Broken Top and Green Lakes.

You will cross Crater Creek and start to climb toward Cayuse Crater, which is a red cinder cone on the south ridge of Broken Top, and the trail will end at the junction with the Broken Top Trail. At the junction you will turn left and continue on to Green Lakes. The signage at the junctions along the trail are well marked, and you will want to go in the direction that points to Green Lakes.

Most of the hike into the Green Lakes is uphill, but does not involve real strenuous climbing, however what makes this a challenging hike is the total mileage involved, which is about 12 miles round trip, which is why I call this a difficult hike.

Many people will backpack into the Green Lakes and camp overnight. We really wished we had been prepared for that as it was a beautiful area and would have been a great place to spend the night.

To return to your car, just turn around and follow the same trails you used to get to Green Lakes. Or, if you want you can do like some folks do and take two vehicles, and park one at Todd Lake, and the other at the Green Lakes trailhead a little further out the Cascade Lakes Highway. If you do that, you would continue on the trail and follow the signs to the Green Lakes trailhead by taking the Fall Creek Trail. If you take the Fall Creek Trail to the trailhead your total distance will be shortened a little, but you will have to have another vehicle waiting for you at the parking area for the Green Lakes trailhead.

Directions: From Bend drive west about 25 miles on the Cascade Lakes Highway (Oregon Highway 46), when you see the sign for Todd Lake turn right. Continue about a half mile and park at the Todd Lake Trailhead.

Permits: Day and overnight visitors entering the Three Sisters Wilderness are required to obtain a permit between Memorial Day and October 31. They are free of charge and must be self-issued at trailheads. One Exception: All visitors entering the Obsidian Limited Entry Area must obtain a limited entry permit from McKenzie River Ranger District (Willamette NF) or Sisters Ranger District (Deschutes NF).

You will find useful information on the Willamette National Forest and Three Sisters Wilderness at the U.S. Forest Service website.

Please note: The Northwest Forest Pass is required at some trailheads on National Forests in Oregon and Washington. These passes are distinct from the wilderness permits. Go to the Recreation Passes & Permits page for more information on the Northwest Forest Pass, including cost and how to get a pass.

Map of Todd Lake to Green Lakes hike.

Here is a GPS track of the hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes, then to the Green Lakes trailhead along the Fall Creek Trail.

Hydration Packs, Hydro Flasks & Hiking Tips

Hydration Packs help Outdoor enthusiasts stay hydrated without having to carry a water bottle. and give the hiker hours of hydration. You can find a wide variety of hydration packs at that will suit the need of almost every hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

If you prefer not to carry a hydration pack, but instead prefer to carry a couple water bottles, I recommend purchasing a Hydro Flask from HydroFlasks will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. Perfect for hiking.

What do I carry? Well both, because I like having lots of water on a hiking outing. And don’t forget to check out this list of hiking tips for some of the other essential items you should always have when out hiking.