Broken Top Hike: A Central Oregon Favorite
The months of August and September are the perfect time to hike the Central Oregon Mountains. The forest roads are finally clear of snow and the weather is ideal with cool mornings and comfortable afternoons. Broken Top Mountain is an epic hike in the Three Sisters Mountain Range that provides picturesque views of the cascades. The hike proves to be pretty strenuous so plan on the adventure taking up a good portion of your day. Leave early in the morning to ensure you have a place to park at the trail head as it does fill up.
To reach the trailhead from FivePine Lodge, take your first left on Buckaroo Rd and continue onto E Coyote Springs Rd. This will turn into S Maple St and eventually E Tyee Drive. From E Tyee Drive, turn left onto 3 Creek Lake Rd and continue 9.5 miles (about 23 minutes). This will turn into NF-16 and you will continue 4 miles (about 11 minutes). NF-16 will turn into NF-370. The dirt road proves to be a bit challenging so make sure your vehicle is well equipped. I wouldn’t suggest a small passenger vehicle driving this terrain either because it is extremely bumpy and rocky. After about 20-25 minutes on 370 you will reach forest road 380 where you will turn left. Follow this road for about 5 more minutes where you will end at the parking lot for the trailhead.
Once you begin, you will come to an intersection to head left or right. The trail to the right is closed and the forest service has asked that you do not go on this, so head left and you also will see that they have placed tree limbs across the trail to deter you from taking it. Once on the correct trail, you will come to another intersection. Heading right will take you to the glacial filled lake, No Name. Heading to the left you get you to Broken Top’s craters. We choose to head to left to Broken Top’s craters which proved to be more challenging than expected.
The beginning of the trail takes you through a forested area and you’ll cross a small stream. Late August and early September is a prime time to see beautiful wildflowers in the area too. Once crossing the stream you will find a sign with directions for Crater Ditch, Green Lakes & Todd Lake. Unfortunately there is no directional sign that points to Broken Top, however it is quite obvious that you will take a right. As you continue, the trail isn’t as clearly marked, but I would recommend climbing as far as your body will allow you. Once you reach the top, the views are phenominal.
Climbing down, proved to be a bit more challenging than anticipated because of the loose lava rocks. I would highly recommend wearing long pants and/or gators if doing this trek. As we descend, we found a great spot that we were able to slid down in the snow. A must do!
As we head back to FivePine Lodge . . . legs a little tired, we find ourselves excited about awaits us in our Cabin. Sipping a glass of wine in the comfort of the waterfall soaking tub sounds extremely enticing. We also set up appointments at Shibui Spa for their Couples massage to cap off a great weekend!