Moraine Lake, Three Sisters Wilderness

This post is not about Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. Moraine Lake in this post is located in the Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon. Access to the lake requires grinding up a trail with 1,500 ft in elevation gain. On the positive side, you do not have to worry about tour-bus crowds competing for the view.

Moraine Lake Trail can be reached via South Sister Climber Trail No. 36 at Devils Lake on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway near Bend, Oregon. The first 1.5 miles we hiked up a rather steep trail through pine forest to a trail junction. Before getting to the junction of Moraine Lake Trail, there were quite a few hikers coming down from the summit of South Sister. But once on Moraine Lake Trail, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

South Sister Climber Trail No. 36. It goes up immediately.

South Sister Climber Trail No. 36. It goes up immediately.

Last push to the junction to Moraine Lake Trail

Last push to the junction to Moraine Lake Trail

The views beye even the trail junction and the lake were gorgeous. Moraine Lake is an alpine lake at the base of the Lewis Glacier moraine. The peak of South Sister can be seen in the north. Broken Top mountain is on the east. Did I mention that there was no crowd?

View of Broken Top Mountain from Moraine Lake Trail

View of Broken Top Mountain from Moraine Lake Trail

South Sister dominates the landscape.

South Sister dominates the landscape.

Trail dotted with color of early fall

Trail dotted with color of early fall

Me at the first glimpse of Moraine Lake

Me at the first glimpse of Moraine Lake

Hiking down to Moraine Lake

Hiking down to Moraine Lake

We walked around the lake before stopping for lunch. Despite being a cold windy day, water of the lake was surprisingly warm. After lunch we headed back out. I was thankful for my hiking pole on our way down the mountain.

Walking around the lake with Broken Top in the background

Walking around the lake with Broken Top in the background

Hikers at the shore of Moraine Lake

Hikers at the shore of Moraine Lake

  • Date hiked: September 4, 2016
  • Hiking time: 3h 11m
  • Distance: Approx. 6.3 mi round-trip (out and back) including a walk around the lake
  • Elevation change: Approx. 1500 ft
  • Northwest Forest or Interagency Pass is required to park at the trailhead

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