greenlakestrailheadIf you are looking for a nice challenging hike with views of South Sister and Broken Top, the Green Lakes Trail may just be what you are looking for. So grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydro Flask, check out these hiking tips, and get ready for a beautiful hike!

If you hike this trail up to the Green Lakes and turn around and follow the same trail back, your hike will be about 9.5 miles. The best time to hike this trail is during the summer or early fall, as the trail may still be covered with snow earlier in the year. You will gain about 1100 feet during your hike, so it is a little bit of a climb. Keep in mind that this is a heavily used trail, and parking may be limited, especially on weekends.

The trail starts out by crossing Fall Creek on a nice footbridge, and then almost immediately heads uphill, and continues to follow along Fall Creek for a good portion of the hike. Because of how close you are to Fall Creek, you will get a chance to see some nice, if not huge waterfalls as you progress up the trail.

After about two miles the trail will intersect with the Moraine Lake Trail, but to reach the Green Lakes just stay to the right. Soon after you will cross Fall Creek again, and you will also walk on or near a couple ancient lava flows as you continue up the trail.

As you continue along the trail, you will stay close to Fall Creek, and then about halfway to Green Lakes the trail opens up into a nice alpine meadow. Enjoy the meadow, and the wildflowers you might see depending on the time of year you are hiking, because after you cross the meadow, the trail begins climbing uphill again for awhile. But keep going, because great views of South Sister and Broken Top are your reward for continuing on.

greenlakesFinally the trail will break out above the tree line and you will have views of Green Lake, South Sister and Broken Top.

Just before reaching Green Lakes you come across the junction with the Broken Top Trail to your right and another trail to your left that circles the Green Lakes west shore. Once you are at the south end of the Green Lakes you can stop for a break, or continue around the east side of the lake for a nice loop hike.

If you want to make your hike a little longer (about a 12.5 mile loop hike), from the southern edge of Green Lakes you can follow the Broken Top Trail to the Soda Creek Trail and take that back to the trailhead (the Soda Creek trailhead is in the same parking lot as the Green Lakes trailhead).

Directions: From downtown Bend, take the Cascade Lakes Highway past the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. About 4.5 miles past Bachelor’s parking lot, turn right at the sign marking the Green Lakes Trailhead.

Fees: You can use a Northwest Forest Pass or pay the $5 day use fee.

The trail enters the Three Sisters Wilderness shortly after leaving the trailhead, so wilderness permits are required for both day-use and overnight travel in the Three Sisters Wilderness area from Memorial Day Weekend until Oct. 31. Free permits are available at the trailhead, so no worries just follow the directions.

Dogs need to be on-leash in Three Sisters Wilderness on the Green Lakes, Moraine Lakes, South Sister, Soda Creek, Todd Lake and Crater Ditch Trails, from July 15 to September 15.

Keep in mind that this is a heavily used trail, and parking may be limited, especially on weekends.

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

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 Deschutes 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.

Green Lakes Trail

Here is a GPS map of the trail to Green Lakes.

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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com. Hydro Flasks 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.