Sisters Oregon - Outdoor Heaven

Three Sisters

Patrick M

Twenty miles west of Bend sits the little town of Sisters. It is the kind of town where you mosey around and look at the unique little shops, art galleries, breath the clean, fresh air, and enjoy the view of the three snowcapped peaks that give the town its name.

It may be a small town but it is not difficult to figure out what to do here for a week or so. A big annual event that draws visitors from all over the United States is the Sisters Oregon Quilt Show. This is the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world.

Another annual event that draws visitors from all over is the Sisters Folk Festival which is held the weekend after labor day every year. The focus is on music that has American roots such as bluegrass and blues. In addition there is a Winter Concert Series held at Sisters High School. The 2011 line up of winter concerts feature Moira Smiley and VOCO, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Tom Russell. For more information, dates, and tickets see Sisters Folk Festival.

Quilts From Sisters Quilt Show


Some of the attractions near Sisters are:

  • A road trip around the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway.
  • World Class flyfishing in the Metolius, McKenzie or Santiam River.
  • Three days to a week at a guest ranch.
  • Golf at some great golf courses.
  • Visit a llama farm or an elk farm.
  • Visit the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery.
  • Camp Sherman
  • Hike to Proxy Falls.
  • Bike ride 28 miles of mountain bike trails at Peterson Ridge.
  • Go fishing or boating at Suttle Lake.
  • Go swimming where the locals go at Scout Lake.
  • Skiing in Central Oregon - Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo Ski Bowl.

A day trip around the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway will show you some of the most scenic country you have ever seen. The byway begins on Highway 242 just west of Sisters and takes you across the McKenzie Pass and around a loop across the Santiam Pass. You will have views of The Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Broken Top Mountain,

Dave Welton, Creative Commons

Proxy Falls, Sahalie, and Koosah Falls. You will see pristine mountain lakes, lava fields, and volcanic cinder cones. The trip is 82 miles long and will take you three to five hours.

Stops you will want to make on your way around the loop are:

  • Belknap Viewpoint
  • Dee Wright Observatory for panoramic views of the Cascades
  • Mount Washington Overlook
  • Proxy Falls
  • Sahalie and Koosah Falls
  • Windy Point Overlook
Metolius River

Doug Ken

If you are into flyfishing, the Metolius River will be a treat for you. The Metolius comes from springs under the volcanic rock near Black Butte. It is cold. It is crystal clear. It has native rainbow trout and bull trout. If this is something you want to do, it would be a good idea to go over to Camp Sherman and talk to the folks over there at the Camp Sherman Store. They can give you some ideas of where to go and also tell you about State of Oregon Fishing Regulations. If you need fishing gear or tackle they will be glad to help you with that. Be aware that it is illegal to use a fishing guide on the Metolius.

Even if you don't want to go fishing, a visit to Camp Sherman is fun. You can  rent a cabin in the woods. The little community has only about 250 people.

You can get any groceries you need at the Camp Sherman Store and if you need anything special, you can order it ahead of time and they will have it there waiting for you--fresh meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, wine, beer, pies, and more. They serve scones hot out of the oven until 11:00 am every Saturday and Sunday. They also have a deli with sandwiches and hamburgers.

Now back to those cabins at Camp Sherman. They have 11 cabins. All of them are privately owned and fully equipped including kitchens. These are the perfect get-a-way for stress relief and relaxation. The river is right by the cabins so you can sit in a big cozy chair and read a book, go for a nice long walk, or whatever you want to do when you want to do it. Now for the best part. These cabins are open all year round. Picture yourself sitting inside your cabin feeling as snug as a bug in a rug with a cheerful fire going in the fireplace and the snow gently falling out side. If you are intersted in spending some time here call 1-800-818-7688. E-mail

Suttle Lake


Fifteen miles from Sisters on Highway 20 is Suttle Lake. It is a popular lake for fishing for both Kokanee salmon and brown trout which can reach 10 pounds in the cold, clear, mountain lake water. The lake is a bit too cold for swimming until late summer. There is a smaller lake nearby that warms up sooner in the summer and this is where the locals go to cool off from high summer temperatures. It is called Scout Lake.

There are campgrounds at both Suttle Lake and Scout Lake. There is a nice trail around Suttle Lake for hiking or biking. Overnight lodging is available at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. See below.

Map for Suttle

Lake and Scout Lake

Sisters Oregon Lodging

For something different, stay at Long Hollow Guest Ranch, an authentic working cattle ranch. You can sign up for three to seven days. They will get you acquainted with your horse and take you out on some rides. You can try your hand at herding some cattle. The rooms are very nice and so is the food. They have a well-stocked fishing lake. You can go on a "Chuckwagon Breakfast" ride or an evening barbecue. The guest ranch vacations are avilable June through September. The bed and breakfast is open for overnight guests October, November, March, April, and May excluding Thanksgiving and Easter. The ranch is located 13 miles northeast of Sisters.

A popular place to stay is Best WesternPonderosa Lodge where you can have a kitchen suite.

Five Pine Lodge and Spa is probably the most romantic place to stay in Oregon and if you are not interested in romance you will still enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. Rooms have Italian tiled showers, waterfall soaking tubs, 42" plasma TV's, patio or balcony, a fireplace, and pillow top mattresses. Packages can include, depending on which one you choose, in-room couples massage by the fire, tickets to the Sisters Movie House, complimentary wine and beer reception, delux coffee and tea service, and daily membership to the Sisters Athletic Club. There is a brew pub on the site. There is a paved walking trail that takes you into downtown Sisters. Pet friendly cabins are available.

There are three 18-hole golf courses within five miles of Sisters--The Aspen Lakes Course and the two courses at Black Butte Ranch.

At The Lodge at Suttle Lake you can enjoy all the summer and winter activities on and around the lake while staying in a spacious rustic suite in the lodge. During the summer months the lodge has canoes, paddle boats, and kayaks available for guests. During the winter when snow is on the ground you can enjoy scenic trips on the many cross-country skis. If you prefer, pick up a pair of snoeshoes from the front desk. Snowmobilers can enjoy the many areas set aside for this purpose in the Deschutes Forest.

Suttle Lake is only a 10-minute drive to Hoodoo Ski Resort for downhill skiing. See Skiing in Central Oregon.

All suites have a large stone fireplace and the Deluxe Suites all have a view of the lake.Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the lodge dining room. Cabins are also available with or without full kitchens.