Green Lakes

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Green Lakes

Distance: 16.1km
Elevation: 416m
Time: 2-3.5h

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Arguably the most popular hike near Bend, the Green Lakes Trail walks you up Fall Creek to the namesake lakes and offers stunning views of both South Sister and Broken Top.

Getting there

Head west out of Bend along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway for 38.6km.  After passing Mt Bachelor Ski Hill, and just after passing Sparks Lake on your left, you will see the small sign for the Green Lakes Trailhead on your right.


When to do

July through October

Backcountry Campsites

At Green Lakes


At trailhead

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back


Detailed Description

The trail begins behind the large message board where you will have to fill out a mandatory, but free, wilderness permit. This is in addition to the parking permit. After hiking along the flat trail for a short way, you will cross over a bridge and the trail will begin to climb.

As the trail continues, there are gorgeous views of the cascading (and aptly named) Fall Creek. You will certainly pass by dozens of picture-perfect waterfalls on your way up to the lakes.

When we last completed the hike in late June, there was a significant amount of snow after less than a 1.6km of hiking. This slows your progress but also decreases the number of people on the hike. We had the lake all to ourselves, something that is unheard of on July and August weekends.

Approximately halfway through the hike, you will cross to the east side of the river on a very narrow and (some would say) scary bridge. After this crossing, you will hike up to a ridge. Up here, the path is mostly flat and the river is more serene. Incredible peaks line the horizon.

Once at the lake enjoy the stunning views. To your left is the picturesque South Sister and to your right the jagged Broken Top. Relax and enjoy before returning the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • The best time of year to complete this hike is in the fall, as there are no crowds or snow to contend with!

  • Camping at Green Lakes is a popular, relatively easy backpack.

  • Many paddling opportunities exist at the nearby Sparks Lake, a favorite amongst local kayakers and stand up paddle-boarders.

  • A Northwest Forest Pass, National Parks Annual Pass, or a $5 day pass (available at trailhead) is required to park.


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