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

75th Annual Sisters Rodeo

It’s Rodeo Week here in Sisters and this year they are celebrating their 75th anniversary!  This Wednesday, June 10th, the Deschutes County Commissioners will declare by proclamation, June 8-15 as “Sisters Rodeo Week”, the Biggest Little Show in the World.  The Rodeo is always the second weekend of June, so plan ahead for 2016 and make your reservations early.

Sisters Rodeo 2010 - Gary Miller - Sisters Country Photography

If you are visiting from out of town and are looking for the best places to get western wear, check out Leavitt’s and Cowgirls & Indians Resale.

There are many exciting events that begin with the PRCA Xtreme Bulls on Wednesday night at 6:30pm.  This is a favorite for many locals and is exclusively an all bull rides evening.  On Thursday, spend the evening hanging out with the locals at Bronco Billy’s.  Enjoy great music, food & drinks (there is a cover charge).  Friday night is Family Night with the Rodeo beginning at 7pm.  Children 12 and under are free.  On Saturday, the day begins with a festive Rodeo Parade at 9:30am in Downtown Sisters followed by rodeo performances at 1pm and 7pm.  The final rodeo performance is Sunday at 1pm.  There will be a flyover by two vintage airplanes, a P-51 and a Skyraider.

2010 Sisters Rodeo - Gary Miller - Sisters Country Photography

For the best seats, we would recommend arriving 30 minutes to an hour before each show and find seats with your back against the sun.  For a detailed list of events, visit  Feel free to stop by our front desk and we’d be happy to give you the insiders scoop.

Other fan favorites are Sisters Rodeo announcer Wayne Brooks, The One Arm Bandit, John Payne & Rodeo Clown, J.J. Harrison.  Wayne Brooks was chosen the 2014 Announcer of the Year at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.  John Payne was awarded the 2014 Specialty Act of the Year as well.

2010 Sisters Rodeo - Gary Miller - Sisters Country Photography

Enjoy the shows!

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

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.


Stars Over Sisters

Central Oregon is fortunate to have beautiful clear skies over 300 days of the year.  From your cabin patio at FivePine, you can sit back and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature and see an endless amount of stars.  

A few weeks ago, just after sunset I saw a particularly bright star wandering around near the moon, and I wondered what it was. The moon itself was a waning sliver of light at the time, just about to enter its “new” phase. Realizing that a new moon means no moon, and no moon means very sparkly stars, I remembered that the Sisters Astronomy Club would soon be hosting its public stargazing program at the high school soccer field. A visit to people with telescopes could probably answer my curiosity over the wandering star.

The program started at 8:30pm, in the Sisters Parks and Recreation building (SPRD) near the high school. There was a lecture and open discussion about “trans-Neptunian objects” and about what we would be seeing that night. Around 9:15 pm, we walked out to the field where several telescopes had already been set up.

I gravitated first to the telescope that was pointed at the bright star I’d been seeing. It turned out it was Venus, which makes sense because planets are the only celestial bodies that wander in our skies (aside from the moon). In the telescope, Venus was only a half-moon shape, because of its current position relative to the sun. Imagine how bright it would be in full position!

After Venus, I stood in line quite a while at the telescope focused on Saturn. It was worth the wait, as I got to see that planet in a position I’d never seen before – at a slight tilt as if to show off its rings. It was so beautiful and iconic an image, it was hard to believe it was real. To the naked eye, Saturn is just a point of light among a billion lights, but in the telescopic eye-piece it is a special work of art.

Other sights that evening included Mars, fuzzy star clusters, distant nebulae, and some rather local phenomena like satellites and meteors. The program ended whenever the watchers had seen all they cared to see, or when they got too chilly – whichever came first.

The Sisters Astronomy Club hosts this star watch, named “Stars over Sisters,” on these upcoming dates in 2012. All programs start in Room 1 of the Sisters Parks and Recreation building on the far side of the high school parking lot.

Friday May 11th, 8:30pm

Saturday May 19th, 8:30pm

Friday July 20th, 9:00pm

Friday August 17th, 8:30pm

Friday September 14th, 8:00pm


Wedding Catering

One of the biggest decisions couples have to make after choosing the venue for their destination wedding here in Central Oregon is what to serve their guests at the reception.  Should it be a formal or intimate wedding with a sit-down dinner, a casual buffet, or just cocktails and hors d’ouevre?   Whatever the choice, first consider your guests.  Are there a lot of children or elderly guests?  Are there guests with special dietary needs?  Carefully planning a menu will make sure all guests enjoy their meal.

After an initial discussion with our Catering Manager/Chef, she will suggest sample menus and help with the decision.  A formal, sit-down dinner is the most traditional style.  The more casual buffet allows the guests to have more of a decision in what they eat, but still retain the formality of beautifully decorated tables and a seating plan.  A slightly more informal reception is to have cocktails and hors d’ouevres with stylish presentation and tasty bites.  Just make sure you serve a substantial amount of food, as your guests will expect enough to substitute for a full dinner.  There’s really no limit to what you serve, it’s your wedding after all.  Barbecues, brunch, picnics, are all great for indoor and/or outdoor weddings.

Those who choose a sit-down dinner usually send the wedding invitees a response card that includes not only whether they will attend, but also a dinner selection.  Usual selections are poultry, fish or red meat and some include a vegetarian option.  Your guests may expect to be served a salad course and a main course.  Dessert is usually the wedding cake.  But we’re seeing lots of cupcakes, pies and self-serve ice cream or yogurt bars for dessert rather than a traditional wedding cake.

If your budget is of concern, we would suggest skimping on expenses other than the food in your wedding preparations.  You can save money by creating your own centerpieces and decorations, having a DJ instead of a live band, and serving only beer and wine.

There is no right or wrong way to serve your guests on your wedding day.  Your personal preference and tastes should determine what you decide for a menu or style.  Most important, try to relax, enjoy the anticipation of getting married, and let the professional staff at FivePine Lodge help you create perfect  memories for your destination wedding in Oregon.

Let us know what you’d like to hear next and we’ll continue with our Wedding blogs.