Monday morning I get a text from my friend Jess saying, “Kellie and Emily want to hike South Sister this weekend.” My immediate answer: YES!
I always thought that when I would hike South Sister I would have to do all this preparing and training. However, this past year of hiking, camping, and backpacking has prepared me to be comfortable tackling trails I was once intimidated by.
We headed towards our campsite on Friday at Wickiup Reservoir where we could settle into the elevation before our hike the next morning at 7 a.m.
People were right about Devil’s Lake Trailhead being busy. When we pulled in at 6:45 it was nearly full. Trial runners, backpackers, and adventurous alike all strive to have an early start. The beginning of the trail isn’t too hard, mostly forest covered. However, most of the hike is exposed to the beating sun, be prepared with sunscreen and facial and neck covers to protect yourself. Be sure to check the trail report as microspikes or crampons are required towards the summit early in the summer. We didn't need them as most of the snow was melted on the trail.
Our campsite the night before
Teardrop Lake, the highest lake in Oregon prior to our summit. Take time to filter water and have a snack here prior to hiking the hardest part of the trail. Or, go sit on a pointy rock like I did.
After fueling on food and water at Teardrop Lake we headed for the summit. Gaining about 2000 feet of elevation gain, the last mile to the top is tough. Loose scree will have you going two steps forward three steps back. Once you reach the final glacier walking the rim opens up views of Middle Sister, North Sister, Mt. Jefferson, Mt.Hood and Adams.
Last portion of the trail on the way up
Ladies, the trees will be the last place to pee in private. Just ask my friend Jess, who had to pee behind a rock as we were summiting. Talk about making moments!
When doing this hike again I would love to backpack to Moraine Lake then summit early in the morning. It took us a whopping 13 hours to complete but we were in no rush and took a lot of snack breaks to enjoy the views.
Trekking poles, at least 4 liters of water and filter, ample food, sunscreen, and bug spray are needed! Depending on the time of year be sure to pack layers for the summit.
Shot out to Naturally Inspired for all of the beautiful photos!
Fee: Northwest Forest Permit
Directions: From Eugene take the I-5 south towards HWY 58 to Oakridge. Take for 73 miles until you reach the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, turn left. Continue on Cascade Lakes HWY for 42 miles until you reach the Devlis Lake Trailhead, turn right.
*Disclaimer: the mileage, difficulty rating, directions depicted on this website are never 100% accurate. Always hike at your own risk, using your own equipment, common sense and knowledge.
Logan Dralle/ Her Oregon Life are not responsible if you or anyone in your party gets injured or lost while attempting one of the hikes featured on this page.