No-permit Three Sisters Wilderness Route

📘 Fastpacking

This is an intermediate 56-mile fastpacking loop that crosses through the Three Sistsers Wilderness area, but doesn't require pre-purchasing a permit ahead of time. On day 2, you'll need to fill out a free self-issued permit from a kiosk at a trail junction.

This is a 2-night loop and both campsites are situated just outside the wilderness area to avoid the need for an overnight permit.




I like this as a 3-day route, appropriate for a fastpack trip with relatively low mileage. For the first day, start at Skyliners Sno Park and camp at Little Three Creek Lake. On the second day, cross through the Three Sisters Wilderness and camp at Quinn Springs, the headwaters of Quinn Creek. On the third day, loop around back to the start.

The first day is 16 miles, and begins with a long, consistent uphill to mile 9.5 along the Metolius-Windigo Trail. After this, descend to the road crossing at Three Creek Meadow. Proceed through the horse camp, following Metolius-Windigo Trail, until you get to a trail intersection leading to Little Three Creek Lake. At this intersection, you can fill out a wilderness permit for Day 2. Make sure to date it correctly. Follow the trail uphill and find a good campsite somewhere near the lake.

Day 2 is approximately 20 miles as mapped. Leave Little Three Creek Lake, and if you didn't get your day permit yet, go down to the Metolius-Windigo interesection to fill it out. Otherwise, you can turn left at the first intersection heading into the Three Sisters Wilderness and toward Park Meadow. From Park Meadow you will climb up and over Green Lakes Pass, down to Green Lakes, then down and up again to Moraine Lake. Then you'll jump onto the South Sister climbers trail, descend to Devil's Lake, and continue southward to Quinn Springs, an interesting area where you can set up camp #2.

Day 3 is approximately 20 miles. The first half of the day is gradual uphill as you climb the Metolius-Windigo trail on your way to Flagline. Then you'll descend Flagline Trail and South Fork Trail back to Tumalo Creek Trail, which will return you to your start.

Route Options

Water Sources

Cue Sheet

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3