Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 44.14830°N / 121.7828°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 10056 ft / 3065 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Middle Sister is the middle and shortest of a series of 3 volcanic peaks rising just over 10,000 ft. in the Cascades of Central Oregon west of Bend. The easiest route is the North Ridge Route which is accessed via Hayden Glacier on the east side and Collier or Renfrew Glaciers on the west side. These routes are easy glacier slogs to a saddle between North and Middle Sister. The North ridge is then a walk up a snow, cinder and small rock hopping ridge.

Getting There

Pole Creek trailhead (for the east side approach): travel 1.5 miles west of Sisters, OR on Hwy 242, turn south on Forest Service road 15 which is paved at first, but the pavement soon yields to trademark Central Oregon washboard gravel. Follow the road for 7.1 miles, where you'll reach a "Y" intersection. Stay left at the junction (following the signs to Pole Creek), and follow the road to its end just past milepost 10 at the parking area for the Pole Creek Trailhead.

Obsidian Trailhead: (for the west side approach): this trail head is located approximately 4 miles west of McKenzie Pass on Hwy 242.

Red Tape

Free Wilderness Permits are required for all entry into the Three Sisters Wilderness from Memorial Day to October 15. These can be obtained at self serve kiosks at the trail head or at ranger stations. A Trail Pass Parking Permit is required to park at or near all trailheads. These are $5 for single use or $30 for an annual pass. They can purchased at ranger stations, at an Iron ranger on FS Rd 15, from various other sites around the area, or via phone 1-800-270-7504.

Additionally the Obsidian Area has a limited entry permit (20 people per day) and may only be obtained at the McKenzie Ranger Station Office.The permit may be obtained up to 30 days prior to use. Permits may be obtained via phone, mail, or in person.
McKenzie Ranger District
57600 McKenzie Highway
McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (541) 822 - 3381

There are camping and campfire setbacks in certain areas of the Three Sisters Wilderness. Check with rangers.

When To Climb

The mountain is climbed year round. Winter has a long ski or snow shoe approach but provides a wonderful alpine experience. Most people summit during the summer when, depending on the route chosen, one may not even step on any snow.


Camping is allowed in the area and on the mountain. Check on special restrictions and special setbacks with the ranger offices.

Mountain Conditions

Cascade has a bulletin board where questions concerning conditions can be posted and usually answered quickly.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Noah (Oregon)

Noah (Oregon) - Sep 12, 2002 3:24 pm - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

While I agree that it is a great place to climb all Summer long, Middle Sister offers two very different mountains depending on the time of the season. I've climbed in the Sisters area in May and in August and hope everyone is perfectly clear that scree happens as the season wears on. I know it makes the mountain more accessible but I recommend an earlier, snowier, less-dusty climb in late Spring or early Summer. Plus you get the real Alpine feeling if you still have the snow under your feet.

Noah (Oregon)

Noah (Oregon) - May 22, 2003 2:29 pm - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

If you go in May, be ready for wind and freezing cold (we had 19 degrees at camp in the trees) and a total snow, alpine experience. On the other hand, I went in August last year and never even set foot on snow the whole way! Two totally different mountains. But if you consider yourself an alpine climber go early. If you are a hiker who wants to bag a summit, go later in the season.

Jeremy517 - Jun 27, 2013 12:48 pm - Hasn't voted

Obsidian permits

Obsidian entry permits are now available through rather than through the ranger station.


tomoko - Aug 9, 2016 1:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Ranger Station near Middle Sister

This page shows that "Iron Ranger" is located at FS Road15. I didn't see it. Instead, I found Ranger Station at Sister town before entering into the Forest Road.

jbheck - Jul 10, 2019 7:01 am - Hasn't voted

Recent Middle Sister, Oregon Climbs

Planning on climbing this gal on July 20. Anyone been up in the last week or two?


mattcookoregon - Aug 19, 2019 10:26 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Recent Middle Sister, Oregon Climbs

Nah, howd it go?!


mattcookoregon - Aug 19, 2019 10:27 am - Hasn't voted

Great camp and climb spot

Love this area. Final part is def loose rock and dangerous. Here is a video showing the summit process:

Viewing: 1-7 of 7



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