No Name Lake, Broken Top


With fall weather setting in, my husband and I have been trying to squeeze in a few last minute hikes that are in higher elevations. Broken Top is one of my favorite areas to visit because of the phenomenal mountain views and the plethora of wildflowers in August. Typically the area is relatively snow free in August and early September.
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 Three 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 as the road is not maintained. 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. On peak summer weekends, the parking lot does fill up so make sure to get there early.
The hike up to No Name Lake is about 5.3 miles out and back with about 1200 feet in elevation gain. When the hike begins you will go through a bit of forested area and then it opens up and you have views of Broken Top. You will see a sign to Green Lakes on the left, but you will want to veer to the right on the trail. I will let the pictures show you the rest.



Hiking Crescent Mountain

Crescent Mountain Hike in Willamette National Forest

Having Mondays off during the fall can lend itself to private hiking in the amazing Cascade Mts.  Having lived in this area for nearly 30 years, you’d think we’ve hiked every trail within a 100 miles of home.  But this fall we found a beautiful new hike in the Willamette National Forest, Crescent Mountain, that we had never experienced.  And we had it all to ourselves.  Not one other hiker!!

The hike is slightly difficult as there is quite a bit of elevation gain, 2100’, and it’s about a 9 mile round trip.  But after a hike through the old growth forest, crossing Maude Creek, we enjoyed huge wildflower meadows and amazing views of our mountains from Mt. Hood to Broken Top.  The trail has a lot of switchbacks which make the climb a bit easier.  The Vine Maple hadn’t turned color yet, but we guessed it would be magnificent later in the fall.  The Beargrass fields are phenomenal.  Other wildflowers we saw were Indian Paintbrush, Columbine, Larkspur, and the most fragrant and huge lilies I’ve ever seen in the mountains.  There were lots of Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Pine trees.

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When we finally reached the summit, about 5750’, we found remains of a fire lookout, with scattered lumber and broken glass.  After a bit of research, I found out that a shelter was built on the site in 1914.  A Cupola-style cabin was built in 1922, replaced in 1938 but torn down by 1980.  I felt sorry for the people that manned the lookout as the hike is fun but wouldn’t want to do it every week.


Since we were the only visitors, we played some fun music, enjoyed private dining and reveled in the beauty of the landscape.  We felt extreme gratitude towards the area we live in, knowing how lucky we are to live in such a gorgeous part of the world.

To get to the trailhead, head to Santiam Junction from Sisters, turning left onto hwy 126/20.  Drive about 3.5 miles to where the Hwy splits. Hwy 126 heads south, but stay on Hwy 20 for less than a mile and turn right on to road 2067. Continue for about one mile and turn left on road 508. This road is unmarked but does have a “trailhead” sign pointing the way. Follow this road to the end where you’ll find a large parking lot. There is a reader board marking the trails entrance.



~Tricia Maxson, Events Director

Tamolitch Pool “Blue Pool”

If you are headed to/from the Eugene area or taking the McKenzie Pass Hwy 242, I would highly recommend stopping and hiking to Tamolitch Pool along the McKenzie River.  It truly is one of Oregon’s gems.  The pool is where the McKenzie River resurfaces from underground lava fields and creates an amazing “Blue Pool”.


To reach the trail from FivePine Lodge begin heading west towards Eugene on Hwy 20 and then take Hwy 126 for about 15 minutes.  The trail will be on your right and look for the sign for Trail Bridge Campground.  After you cross the bridge, stay to the right and you will find the parking lot.

The trail is about 4 miles round trip and an easy to moderate hike.  Much of the hike is spent under old growth so depending on the time of year you go, dress accordingly.  The first half of the trail is very leisurely and you will cross two bridges.  The later part of the hike can be a bit more difficult as there is a slight incline and the terrain is a bit rockier.






Once you reach the pool, prepare to be awe struck by its pure beauty.  I’ve been to it twice, once in mid-August and once in late September and both times were amazing.  In the summer months, you may find people jumping off the cliff side into the icy water.  Be prepared that the water is extremely cold!  The trail also does not go around the entire pool; however you can traverse to the other side which will get you direct access to the pool.

After the hike, I would recommend heading to a little “secret” hot spring (shhhh, don’t tell anyone else).  From the Trail Bridge road, head right onto Hwy 126 until you reach Deer Creek Rd.  The hot springs will be on the left side of the road.  You will see two paths, stay left on the path that is closest to the river and it is a short walk to the springs.  It can be a bit crowed in the summer since it is a short walk, but it is definitely a nice outing if you have time.

~Kelly Newcombe, Sales & Marketing Director at FivePine Lodge

Hiking in Central Oregon

Hiking in Central Oregon is spectacular and amazingly beautiful.  Hikers can find trails that are easy and only take a small amount of time, or there are trails that require a commitment of an entire day or for those more adventurous, can take a whole summer, such as traveling on the entire Pacific Crest Trail.  Nearly all trails around Sisters and Bend are accessible within a few minutes to just a couple of hours drive.  And every trail is unique, beautiful and worth the effort.

I have several favorites, one being the Six Lakes trail near Elk Lake.  The trail starts in the Three Sisters Wilderness area just past Elk Lake’s resort entrance.  The first lake is Blow Lake, then Doris Lake, which is a blue/green, freezing cold but refreshing lake.  It’s a great destination for a short backpacking trip.

A bit further is Senoj Lake, which is shallow and surrounded by meadow grass.  This is a great destination when horseback riding.  Keep on hiking and eventually you’ll get to Cliff Lake, Porky Lake and Mink Lake.  It’s best to have a car shuttle planned, if you want to get to all six lakes.  We often hike to Senoj Lake, take our boots off and wade into the lake, have some lunch, and head back out.

This trail is great for moderate hiking, horseback riding, and back packing.  We stayed overnight at Doris Lake one summer and it was one of the most peaceful, beautiful nights ever.  The clear sky, full of the most amazing stars & planets seemed like the biggest sky ever.  The only tough part of the hike/camp was the mosquitoes.  OMG, they are relentless.  As much as I hate chemicals, I love Deet!!  They were all over our dogs, too.  But a quick dip in the lake brought instant relief for all of us.

Another amazing hike is the east side of Broken Top.  To reach the trail head, drive to Todd Lake and keep going through the gate.  The road requires vehicles with high clearance and durability.  It’s a rough, relatively long and narrow journey, but so worth the ride.  The streams, wildflowers, and views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top Mountains are breathtaking.  There are usually several snow fields to trek through which makes it fun on a hot day.  The highlight of the hike is reaching the moraine lake that seems to have “no-name”.  It suddenly appears through the snow covered, narrow trail heading to the peak.  The color of the lake is like a tropical ocean.  However, I highly suggest not swimming in it as there are usually parts of the glacier floating around so the water will definitely take your breath away.  You won’t stay in it for long, if you are brave enough to dive in.

Once you’ve reached the top of the trail, the view of the Three Sisters is amazing.  It seems like the wilderness to the north is endless.  We are so lucky to live in such a wild and beautiful part of the world.

Another great hike near Sisters is the Obsidian Trail off the McKenzie Pass, Hwy 242.  Permits are required for this hike so plan ahead and check with the Forest Service.  They limit the number of permits to preserve the trail system.  It’s considered a difficult trail since it’s about a 12 mile loop with approximately 1800’ in elevation gain.  But you’ll experience a plethora of natural environments, such as old growth forests, open meadows with waterfalls and streams, lava fields, and obsidian cliffs.

For a strenuous hike, try Black Crater located off the same highway but just prior to the Dee Wright Observatory.  It’s rated as another difficult hike since there is over 2,350’ in elevation gain and it’s about an 8 mile loop.

As you may notice, there is truly endless hiking in the Sisters and Central Oregon area.  I’ve lived here for nearly 30 years, and each year we find new and exciting places to hike.  Our favorite thing to do after a long, tiring day on the trail is to stop at Three Creeks Brewery, have a cold one, and with a little luck, schedule a massage at Shibui Spa.  If we’re too tired to drive home, we may just stay the night at FivePine Lodge.

Tricia Maxson – Events Director at FivePine Lodge

Smith Rock Pumpkin Patch Adventure

Fall in Central Oregon is my favorite time of year.  The leaves start changing to a vibrant orange and red, the mornings and evenings are crisp and during the day the sun is shining and the temperatures are perfect.  I always get nostalgic this time of year because it means the holidays are right around the corner.

One of my favorite family activities to do in October is visiting the pumpkin patch in Terrebonne.  Even before my husband and I had our daughter, we went to the Smith Rock Ranch that is about 35 minutes from FivePine Lodge.  Now that we have our daughter, visiting the pumpkin patch is sure to be an annual family tradition for us.


Smith Rock Ranch is sure to please everyone in your family.  They have a nicely done corn maize that is different each year and is open Friday – Sunday.  This year the theme is Godzilla.  Past years have included Bugs Life, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Safari and Egypt.  My husband’s favorite activity at the pumpkin patch is the pumpkin cannon.  Tokens are $2.50 each and you get to take your shot at hitting the old car in the field.  I will admit that he has yet to actually hit the car, but still fun none the least.



With a 15 month old toddler, there are definitely more activities to enjoy and in years past, I have always watched families ride the zoo train and gone to the petting zoo.  This year, I finally got to participate with my daughter and seeing her sheer excitement was priceless.  The small petting zoo has several goats, a sheep and chickens and my daughter loved chasing them all around.  The zoo train is pulled by a tractor and takes you throughout the ranch and lasts about 5-7 minutes.  Other activities include pony rides which you can get some great pictures of your kids with Smith Rock in the background, mini golf, archery and wagon rides.  All of the activities are available Friday – Sunday and the pumpkin patch and harvest market are open 7 days a week.  They also have live music on Saturday and Sunday.

There are a few “food” options at the ranch as well.  When I reference “food”, I mean there is popcorn, funnel cakes, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Contact our front desk to inquire about other great activities to enjoy during the fall months in Central Oregon.

Park Meadow Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness area

This last Saturday, my husband, 13 month old daughter and dog (we were down one as our Puggle was still recovering from the blisters he got last week on the hike to Doris Lake) went to Park Meadow in the Three Sisters Wilderness area.  We found the hike in the book “100 hikes in the Cascade Mountains” by William Sullivan and we excited to try it out.  However, we forgot to consider that this trail went directly through the area where the Pole Creek fire took place in 2012. The book listed that the trail was about 7.5 miles to Park Meadow, but due to the fire, the trail must have been re-routed a bit because it was 10 miles round trip.

To get to the Park Meadow trailhead from FivePine Lodge, you will head west on Hwy 20 towards the town of Sisters.  Don’t forget your Northwest Forest Pass.  If you don’t have one, stop by the front desk and the staff can issue you one for $5.  I would recommend stopping at Melvin’s Market first to grab some snacks and sandwiches.  From there, you will take a left on Elm Street which turns into Forest Road 16.  You will stay on this road for 14 miles at which point the paved road turns into gravel.  Keep going another .3 miles and you will see the trailhead sign on the left.

I would describe the trail as moderate based only on the distance.  There is only a slight elevation gain.  Pack lots of water as the first/last 4 miles you are hiking through the Pole Creek fire area so there is limited shade.  You cross three small streams along the way.  With the limited tree cover, you see the snowcapped mountains during your entire trek which makes the trip very scenic.






The Pole Creek fire was caused by lightning in September 2012.  Over 26,000 acres burned and 4 cars were destroyed in the fire.  It was truly surreal to walk through the area that had burned as the ground and trees were charred and lifeless.   Once you reach the edge of where the fire burned, you are immediately engulfed with green luscious trees.  There is finally some life!  After a mile, we reached our destination of Park Meadow.  There was a small pond at the edge of the meadow and breathtaking views of the mountains.  We stopped here for lunch but were quickly run out by the bugs.  This is a perfect camping destination for backpackers as many continue onto Green Lakes, Golden Lake and Broken Top.




Overall, this wasn’t one of my favorite hikes in the area.  The views at Park Meadow were superb and I can only imagine what the trail would have been like prior to the fire, but with no shade and packing our daughter around, it was a little much for us.

Stay tuned for our next adventure . . .


Six Lakes Trail to Doris Lake

On a hot day in July, my husband and I decided to beat the Central Oregon heat by venturing off to the Cascade Lakes highway for a nice hike.  Temperatures in Bend were supposed to be in the 90s making the temperatures in the Cascades a comfortable mid to high 70s.  With a 13 month old daughter and 2 dogs, we are always up for trying new easy to moderate hikes that are scenic and not too busy with people.

We received a recommendation from a co-worker to check out the Six Lakes Trail which was about a 30 minute drive outside of Bend, 2 miles past the popular Elk Lake Resort.  From the highway, you will see a sign that says “Trailhead” on the right hand side, so it is important that you only go 2 miles past Elk Lake.  Along the Six Lakes trail you will find Blow Lake, Doris Lake, Senoj Lake, Cliff Lake, Porky Lake and Mink Lake.  We chose to venture on to Doris Lake which is 3 miles from the trailhead.  Porky Lake and Mink Lake are about 8.5 miles from the trailhead and would make for a great backpacking trip.

For our day trip we packed lunches, water, sunscreen and lots of bug spray.  The mosquitos were the only downfall to the hike and thankfully we came prepared.  We applied bug spray 3 separate times and unfortunately still got a few bites.

You begin the trail walking through a thin forest of pines.  You will notice many downed trees, but the forest service has done a great job keeping the pathway clear.  We were able to keep our dogs off leash as we only encountered a few other hikers.  Within 1 mile you will come to Blow Lake and there are several access points along the lake.  We stopped briefly to allow ours dogs to cool down and play in the water and hiked another 2 miles to Doris Lake.



Doris Lake has crystal clear water and several nice areas to stop for lunch.  We walked along the lake and found a great spot next to the water with a few downed trees that were perfect for sitting on.  Our daughter and dogs played in the water while we ate lunch.  From areas of the lake, you can see the backside of Mt. Bachelor, South Sister and Broken Top mountains.






In all, we hiked 7.5 miles and it was an easy day hike.  The trail itself had a very mild incline and was very manageable with a pack for toddler and a backpack.  To complete the trip, we stopped off at Elk Lake resort for some ice cream.

A National Forest Pass is required and are available for purchase at the FivePine Lodge front desk for $5.


Obsidian Trail

As summer quickly approaches, it is the perfect time to start planning those epic summer hiking trips.  Central Oregon is full of trails ranging from leisurely to difficult.  If you are up for the challenge and have time, we would definitely recommend the Obsidian Trail.  A Northwest Forest pass may be purchased from the FivePine Lodge Front Desk for $5.  You will also need an Obsidian Limited Entry area pass as they only allow 30 day hikers into the area each day in an effort to preserve the natural beauty and wilderness.

116Last year we decided to tackle part of the beautiful Three Sisters Mountains.  We chose to do the Obsidian Trail which leads you between the Middle Sister and Little Brother.  This is a long trail, the book said 12 miles but it feels like 20.  But as difficult as it was it was worth every foot of elevation incline.  We took highway 242 to the trail head and began our journey.  We had a group total of 12 with ages ranging from 11-40.  The trail was well maintained, clean and the canopy covered for the first few miles.  The wild Lupine was beautiful, the meadows and creeks were breathtaking and a welcome sight as the temperatures went up. 123

I have to say our dogs enjoyed the creeks and the snow we came across the most.  My favorite parts were the green glacial lakes at the top, the sparkle of the obsidian on the trail and most of all the technology free day with our 3 children, 2 of which are teenagers.  These experiences last a lifetime, though they wouldn’t hike with me again for the rest of the season for fear of another 7 hour day in continual motion.


The day was long and tiring but when we got back we were able to utilize the hot tub at the athletic club and relax in peace on the quiet campus.  It was an excellent way to recover.

For more information about the trail, click HERE.


Romantic Snowshoeing Adventure


After 18 years of marriage, I am well aware that Valentine’s Day is far more the Chocolate and Roses.  Coming up with new and more inspirational ideas is a difficult task… unless you live in Central Oregon!

I was able to convince my wife to trust me with the evening’s plans.  She had simple instructions for the night – Wear Sorel boots and dress for a winter activity.   She was certainly puzzled as we drove up Elm Street in Sisters and climbed towards the Three Sisters Snow Park.  The destination did not intrigue her as much as the limited daylight remaining.  The winter trails emanating from the Snow Park are varied, based on your preferred mode of travel.  Backcountry skiing, Snowmobiling, Nordic Skiing, Snow Biking (See Blazin’ Saddles), and Snowshoeing are all options once you park. 

The weather was crystal clear and a comfortable 28 degrees as I unloaded two pair of snowshoes and set them on the snow.  One medium sized backpack was the only other item needed and we were climbing up a gradual grade towards the Jeff Vue Warming Hut.  Though the sun had set, the sky remained lit well enough to continue on the 2.7 mile hike without the need for additional lighting.  The snow was very soft, but we made quick work of the trek with some quality equipment.  Snowshoeing allows for great communication (something needed with 3 children and endless obligations).  We had the trail to ourselves this evening, but we found the warming hut occupied when we rounded the final turn of our uphill portion.

After some friendly conversation and taking a photo of us, the couple left to run back down to the snow park.  We placed another log on the fire, and I began laying out the food items and wine I had brought up.  My wife marveled at the spectacular view as she drank for the bottle of wine… that’s right, Mr. Romantic had forgotten any form of cup.  With the view we were enjoying, it held little consequence.  Turkey, cheese, crackers, some fun candy and mini cans of Coke rounded out the night’s offerings.


We stayed in the shelter well into the evening, enjoying simple bites of food and sipping from our wonderful bottle of French wine (a local wine from my wonderful friend Olivier’s home region).  The fire kept us warm enough as the temperatures dropped to the teens.  As the fire burned down, we cleaned up our space, re-stocked the wood supply and placed headlamps on.  It was time to hike back to the car by the moon and headlamps.  With the assistance of wine and inspired by interruption free conversations, we made short work of the return adventure.  Valentine’s Day accomplished!

I would not suggest Snowshoeing in poor weather. Bring all emergency gear needed to survive in the wilderness and pack out what is packed in.  Needed: French Wine, Snowshoes, map, and a best buddy!


Mike Putnam Photography

Central Oregon is a photographers dream with beautiful snow capped mountains, colorful aspens and breathtaking waterfalls.  Mike Putnam is a local photographer who has been capturing Central Oregon’s natural beauty for years.  We are excited for the opportunity to showcase a few of his pieces in the our main lodge and gift shop.  Stop by FivePine, to view his work and take a piece of Central Oregon home with you.  Be sure to check out his website and Facebook page!