This Rim, like so much else in Central Oregon's volcanic landscape stands out for its rugged beauty. While not very high, it is nonetheless a wonderful hike and for many Oregonians (including children), a good place to begin a lifetime love-affair with the outdoors. This is also a good place to access the Three Sisters Wilderness Area if you don't mind hiking cross country (just North of Broken Top). My first alpine experience began here and led to the summit of South Sister via Green Lakes. This is what makes Tam McArthur so great, it is full of opportunity and diverse outdoor possibilities. Also worth mentioning is Broken Hand. If you are already up on the Rim, it may be worth the extra hiking... Broken Hand is further West and has an elevation of 8376 ft. There is not currently a page on SummitPost for this volcanic butte. You can click here for more information - Bend Bulletin Click here for the official site - Tam McArthur Rim Trailhead
From Sisters, Oregon it is quite easy to reach the trailhead and as long as the road is clear, no 4-wheel drive is needed. Once in Sisters go South on Elm St. at a sign for Three Creek Lake. Follow this road, (Forest Road 16), for "15 miles to the point the road becomes gravel. Continue on the gravel section of the road for two more miles, past two campgrounds, to the trailhead directly across from the entrance to the Driftwood Campground. A small parking area is about 100 feet down from the entrance to the campground. If this area is full, park along the road near the trailhead."
As the campgrounds have fees, you will need to pay the attendent for each night you stay at Three Creek Lake (or any of the campgrounds). If you wish to do this as a short but fun day-hike from Bend, you will only need a pass to park at the trailhead. You can get passes from the rangers in Bend or Sisters. Here is the contact information for the ranger station in Sisters - Sisters Ranger District Pine St & Hwy. 20 P.O. Box 249 Sisters, OR 97759 (541) 549-7700
This climb is easiest in the Summer months when the road is clear of snow, however, there are people who ski in and explore the Rim out of season. Be prepared for all kinds of weather whenever you go. Karl Helser has informed me that, "this place is buzzing with snowmobiles in the winter." And while I don't know from firsthand experience, I do know that this is something to consider before heading up there on a ski/snowshoe trip. If you are a ski mountaineer, perhaps this page would be of interest to you, Skiing the Cascade Volcanoes.
There are no huts, but there are many good campsites. If you are not interested in car camping, don't worry, you can explore the many small lakes and find a site above the "hectic" campgrounds.
You will need to check with the ranger station in Sisters before you hike. Don't forget that while the altitude is not very great, once East of the Cascades, snow and cold become more significant.