Broken Top Loop
ElevationAscent: 3,521' 1,073 m
Descent: -3,533' -1,077 m
High: 8,332' 2,540 m
Low: 6,015' 1,833 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)
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“Broken Top Loop Trail is a wonderful 20+ mile, lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sisters, OR.”— Arthur McMahon
Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
I prefer starting with the Tam McArthur Rim Trail. You'll start by climbing around and above Three Creeks Lake which will already offer you a stunning view of Broken Top and Mt. Jefferson. The first couple of miles will have ample tree cover, but as you make your way up the 1800 ft. incline, you'll soon leave those trees behind at the timberline. The Tam McArthur Rim Trail fades away as you leave the rim above Three Creeks Lakes. There are cairns which mark the path toward No Name Lake and skirt around the crags of Broken Hand.
A little after 5 miles, you'll reach the beautiful No Name Lake which will be your first reliable water source on the loop. On the ridge above the lake is a spectacular vista of the surrounding cascades. This is a great spot to catch a sunset with Broken Top and the Three Sisters.
From No Name Lake, the trails are visible and well marked, and you'll find an ample supply of glacier melt creeks. You'll drop downhill and curve around to the Broken Top Trail which will lead you to the highly trafficked Green Lakes Trail.
The Green Lakes sit between Broken Top and the South Sister. Many people camp here and take day trips to the tops of either of these two peaks which are both hard climbs, but fairly accessible in the later summer months. This is a popular location for hikers and horseriders who venture in from the Green Lakes Trailhead.
Continuing the loop, you'll climb out of Green Lakes and descend toward Park Meadow. Before the meadow there is a short side trail to the majestic Golden Lake which is another excellent camping location on this loop and is the best spot for a swim.
Onward from the meadow, you'll be entering a burnt forest with a number of downed trees, though the route is easy to navigate.
All-in-all, this is an amazing loop run which showcases the best of the Three Sisters Wilderness. You'll get to run around some big mountains with the option to scale them if you wish. Without the one big climb up to No Name Lake, I would say this run would be an intermediate journey with plenty of water and great camping. Beware that even during the hot summer months, it can still dip below freezing at night when you're camping at high altitude!
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Land Manager: USFS - Deschutes National Forest Office