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Sep 15 2019
Tim
avatar

 Guides 10
 Triplogs 422

59 male
 Joined Feb 25 2002
 Scottsdale
Park Meadow Trail #4075Northeast, OR
Northeast, OR
Hiking avatar Sep 15 2019
Tim
Hiking7.50 Miles 575 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.73 mph
575 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Carolyn and I intended to do this as a loop utilizing the Metolius Windiago Trail up to Three Creek Lake and back. but we missed the turn and end up doing an out and back to the second creek crossing.The turnoff wasn't well signed and it was somewhat vague, but I still should have spotted it. This hike ended up being in the burn the entire way so it was kind of a bust. It was around 50 degrees and windy so it got a little chilly at times. The hike came in at 7.5 miles in 2.75 hours with 575 feet of AEG.
_____________________
Aug 02 2014
autumnstars
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 Guides 25
 Routes 19
 Photos 558
 Triplogs 1,385

female
 Joined Jan 04 2011
 Las Vegas, NV
Broken Top Loop TrailNortheast, OR
Northeast, OR
Backpack avatar Aug 02 2014
autumnstars
Backpack35.16 Miles 5,241 AEG
Backpack35.16 Miles4 Days         
5,241 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
This year's annual summer backpacking trip with my niece and sister. My niece is now old enough that we can tackle more challenging and longer routes. Backpacking with young kids is fun, but it really does limit your choices. After seeing Oregon Hiker's photos from this area last summer, we all agreed that a circumnavigation of Broken Top seemed like a great choice.

Day One
We decided to take an anticlockwise direction, starting from the Three Creek Lake trailhead. Little did we realize that Three Creek Lake is such a popular fishing/camping/horseriding/hiking area for folks from Sisters and Bend - the place was mobbed. Just when we had almost given up and decided to drive down the road some more to find parking, a group of backpackers arrived back from their adventure and offered us their spot :D . After a quick bite and a ride in the tipsy port-a-loo, we headed up the trail. From here, the Tam McArthur Rim blocked all views toward Broken Top and the Three Sisters, but the trail was gentle and we enjoyed strolling through the tall trees.

Soon enough, we turned west and entered the Pole Creek Fire, leaving the shady forest behind. A good part of the day from here involved hiking through a completely torched burned area, which looked eerie and made for oddly good pictures. Almost 2 years after this fire, the understory is still mostly barren, so it must have been quite a scorcher. After all the blackened trunks, we were excited to see the strip of green along Snow Creek and a fresh, new sign announcing the Three Sisters Wilderness boundary. A quick jaunt through Park Meadow, which was awash in backpacker camp sites, and a stiff climb to the side trail to our chosen site for the night - Golden Lake. There was one other group at the lake, but they didn't seem to want to interact, so we had the evening to ourselves.

Day Two
Our Golden Lake camp site offered stunning views of sunrise on South Sister over breakfast :D . Back on the main trail, we hiked down, down, down into the Green Lakes basin. We saw a lot of people here day hiking, as well as all the way down Green Lakes Trail until we turned off toward Moraine Lake. The Green Lakes Trail runs beside a very nice stream most of the way, crossing it a few times via foot logs. This seems to be a popular trail for families. Most were friendly, but we were still happy to turn off and start hiking away from the crowds. Moraine Lake was a great place to camp, with assigned (but well-spaced) sites, good flowing water, and a lovely lake. The reflections of South Sister would no doubt be great with clear weather, but the smoke continued to obscure things for us.

Day Three
Day 3 began with a nice early start since we didn't have to pack everything up immediately. We had decided to add on a side-trip up South Sister and turned up the climbers trail toward the top with just day-hiking necessities. Given our time line and pace, it quickly became clear we were not going to make the peak today, but that was okay with everyone. For us flatlanders, 6,000 to 10,000+ ft elevation in 4 miles is not an easy hike ;) . This side trip would be more enjoyably done by spending 2 nights at Moraine Lake, giving one full day to ascend, enjoy, and descend. None-the-less, we enjoyed going up as far as we did and taking in the views, obscured somewhat by smoke in the air from the numerous nearby forest fires.

At turn-around time, we headed back down South Sister, packed up camp, and moved on. We had to retrace some of our path from yesterday, again meeting a lot of hikers on the Green Lakes Trail. Just before Green Lakes, we turned east and continued our trek around Broken Top. This was a nice quiet trail that skirted an interesting volcanic crater on the flanks of Broken Top. Eventually, the forest opened up in an expansive sub alpine meadow with several small creeks and springs, where we spent a nice quiet evening gorging on our extra food.

Day Four
The last day of this backpacking trip was the most worrisome for my companions - it was their first time really hiking off trail, especially while backpacking. As it turned out, we could have followed use trails almost the entire way, but since that wasn't obvious on the ground, we did get in some off-trail. This day was amazing views of Broken Top, the Three Sisters, and other volcanic peaks to the north (Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt Jefferson, and even Mt Hood). There were snow field crossings, and even a snow bridge to pass over the outflow from a glacial lake on Broken Hand. Once we made the Tam McArthur rim and started along the trail, some sections became a bit of a slog. There are some rutted, washed-out parts to this trail, but we quickly forgot about that with expanding views of Three Creek and Little Three Creek Lakes. The final drop down was via switch-backs with nice views of the lakes.

We topped off the trip with a stop in Sisters for delicious huckleberry smoothies :D
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
We were a little too late for the main flower season, but pockets of heavy flowering here and there, especially along the water courses and near the permanent snowfields. Not familiar with very many of the species, though.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Crater Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow at trail crossing

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Golden Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Green Lakes 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Little Crater Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow at trail crossing

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Little Three Creek Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Moraine Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Three Creek Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full
_____________________
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"
average hiking speed 2.73 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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