Living in Bend, you are always prepared to go on a day hike. You wait for the weekend, the snow to melt or the temperatures to be just right and you are gone. This slightly strenuous hike to Moraine Lake in Bend is perfect for a beautiful sunny afternoon. Challenge yourself, or enjoy an uphill trek to this beautiful lake. Many stop here for the night before completing the rest of the climb to South Sister’s peak as it offers beautiful views, a cool lake to jump into on a hot day and the perfect area to set out chairs right next to the lake to relax.
Hike Moraine Lake Trail
Miles: 4.9 R/T ♦ Elevation Gain: 1,480′ ♦ Trail Type: Out and Back ♦ Trail: Moderate
One of the other great things about this hike is that it starts and ends right at Devil’s Lake. A beautiful turquoise lake that was formed by lava flow.
The parking lot is a decent size, but people cram themselves into it. It’s busy because of the camping available at Devil’s Lake, day use at Devil’s Lake and then the hiking trails for Moraine and South Sister. Hikers doing multi day hikes also park here, so it is safe to park overnight.
The trail starts right at the pit toilets, so you can’t miss it.
After a beautiful and flat quarter mile walk through the forest you will come to the highway, which you have to cross. Warning, both sides come from blind corners, so be careful crossing!
Once you have crossed, you will come to an area where you need to fill out a permit. They are free and usually there is a ranger there to answer any questions and to make sure you fill the permits out correctly.
The climb immediately starts after this spot. This hike starts at 5,500′, so bring lots of water and snacks to keep your energy and for an excuse to take some breaks along the way. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
The first juncture you encounter is just above the trees. If you go right it takes you down to Moraine Lake and the campground. If you go straight, you reach the point for the overhead view, this is what we did. Going straight will also keep you on the trail to continue on to South Sister Climber Trail.
The hike after this junction is the easiest. Wide trail and pretty level. If you are going straight to South Sister, veering to the right to get the overhead view of Moraine Lake is worth the 10 minute detour.
As soon as you take the right to head to Moraine Lake, it’s an easy jaunt to the view. Take in this most amazing view while allowing your heart rate to calm and your muscles relax.
Moraine Lake Trail Info
If you are camping at the lake, please be mindful of the rules for camping within distance to water and trails. Also, practice LEAVE NO TRACE.
There is RV parking at this trailhead, the only problem you may have is the tight turns to get to the lot since people park along the road. Horse trailers also use the lot, it is the first left after turning onto the road for the trailhead.
Distance: 4.9 miles R/T
Elevation Gain: 1480′
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dog Friendly: Yes, on a leash
Family Friendly: Yes, very
Parking: Medium sized parking lot with vault toilets and trash. Please don’t park like a jerk. 44.034820, -121.765626
Parking Fee: Whenever you can access Devil’s Lake.
Parking Accepted Passes: Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Annual Pass, America the Beautiful Interagency Senior Pass, Interagency Access Pass, Interagency Military Pass, Every Kid in a Park Pass or Northwest Forest ePass.
Trailhead: 44.035383, -121.765739 Just to the right of the vault toilets and left of the ranger cabin.
Best Time: late summer and early fall.
Forest: Deschutes National Forest and Three Sisters Wilderness
Other Uses: camping, backpacking, trail running, picnicking, fishing at lake
Access: Summer and Fall
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