3 Sisters Hikes Where Instagram-Worthy Pics Abound

Chris Smith | 06.25.20

Snapping stunning landscape photos to share with friends and family is one of the best parts of a good hike. The mountainous area around Sisters, Oregon is known as prime hiking territory and offers the kind of raw natural beauty that even professional photographers dream of. The good news is, you don’t have to be a photography whiz to capture striking shots of the Sisters wilderness! You just need a good camera, a sturdy pair of walking shoes, and inside info into the best photo-worthy hiking trails around.

Although Sisters has scenic beauty around every corner, some of its signature hikes offer once-in-a-lifetime photo ops. If you’re searching for photos worthy to be shared on your social media accounts, these hikes are the place to go. Here are three Sisters hikes where Instagram-worthy pics abound!

Canyon Creek Meadows

Distance: 4.5 mi or 7.5 mi loop depending on how far you hike

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Season: July-September

Price: $5 parking fee

Canyon Creek Meadows is a favorite for hikers and photographers alike. Starting near the Jack Lake campground, the trail winds through the lower meadows of Canyon Creek to the base of Three Fingered Jack.

You’ll want to keep your camera at the ready as you make your way through a slumbering alpine forest and emerge to a blooming wildflower display in the lower meadow. Here, thousands of colorful blooms stand in stark contrast to the glacial peak of Three Fingered Jack in the background, offering a viral-worthy snapshot of central Oregon beauty.

Here, you can return to the trailhead or continue on the loop for a moderately challenging hike to the upper meadows and overlook point on the mountain. Just past the upper meadows, a pale glacial lake is nestled against a stunning backdrop of the upper meadows and Mount Jefferson in the distance. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, a steep climb up the saddle of the mountain will take you to an overlook point where you can capture panoramic shots of the area.

The best time to venture Canyon Creek Meadows is during July, when the wildflower displays are at their peak. To avoid the crowds, the Forest Service requests that you hike the trail counterclockwise.

Proxy Falls

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Season: Mid-June to Early November, depending on snowfall

Price: $5 Parking Fee

This deceptively easy hike leads to a scenic waterfall where you won’t need a filter to capture its raw, natural beauty. The trailhead begins on McKenzie Hwy 242 and winds through a rocky lava formation before leveling out into a dense forest. From late September to October, the trees come alive with fall foliage, their red and yellow leaves providing a nice contrast to the dark lava rocks below.

If you take the trail counterclockwise from the trailhead, you’ll come to the lower proxy falls split first. You’ll emerge on an overlook above the falls, giving you a great overhead look as it cascades down the mountain.

For the best photo op, head down the left side of the falls to the bottom. Here, the water tumbles down from more than 100 feet above your head, splashing off the rocks and douglas fir trees nearby before it seems to vanish into the ground. (Don’t worry – it’s just sinking into the porous soil beneath). You’ll be close to the spray from here, so be sure to bring something to protect and/or wipe your camera lens between shots.

When you’re done, continue along the trail counterclockwise until you come to a right-side split. This will take you to Upper Proxy Falls. This waterfall is smaller than its lower neighbor and is fed by an unnamed creek before falling 130 feet into a grotto. Densely packed trees make these falls harder to see, but they are beautiful in their own right and offer less-captured shots for the discerning photographer.

When your camera roll is full, continue hiking counterclockwise on the main trail until you return to the trailhead.

Broken Top

Distance: 5.8 miles (roundtrip)

Difficulty: Moderate

Season: Summer

Price: Free

Nothing says viral photo like the peak of an extinct volcano – unless that peak is also home to a pale blue glacial lake that sparkles against the dark mountain crater. There’s only a short seasonal stretch for the hike to Broken Top Crater, but making a (well-planned) trip is more than worth the effort.

A few miles past the Lake Todd trailhead on NF-370, the trail is only accessible during the summer months and requires a competent 4X4 vehicle to reach. You’ll begin your hike at Crater Canal Ditch, winding through alpine forests and flower-filled meadows before beginning a climb up the mountain’s east side. Here, snow settles year-round and the many lakes and streams that flow from the peak are coated in glittering ice and glaciers. It’s a great place to stop for a rest (and an icy drink for your pup).

The short final climb to the crater is steep, but rewards hikers who complete it with a stunning view of No-Name Lake, a pale glacial tarn that sits just below the mountain peak. In the distance, sweeping views of Three Sisters and the Cascade Mountains make for the ultimate Instagram-worthy shot.

Note: Many vehicles get stuck each year attempting to access the Broken Top Crater Trailhead. If you’re at all worried about slogging through deep ditches and rough terrain, begin your hike at the Lake Todd Trailhead on NF-370 for an easy 14-mile trip to the top.

Book your Sisters, Oregon stay today

To capture your perfect photo, you’ll need the perfect home base to lay your head and stash your gear. You can get all of that and more with our great Sisters, Oregon vacation rentals! For stunning shots right off your back porch, book at a stay at our Meadow View Cabin. Its jaw-dropping views and wildlife neighbors are right near the best hiking trails so you can be ready to whip your camera out when a curious deer walks by!

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