Whychus Creek Trail is a beautiful path that heads through the forest along the banks of this churning stream. There are flowers, waterfalls, rapids, views, and even a swimming hole or two if you are custom to bathing in ice water.
The trail starts from a small trailhead located just along the side of Three Creeks Lake Road. While there isn’t a room for many cars here, it is not usually too busy and you should be able to find a place to park fairly easily.
The hike begins by winding its way through some typical Central Oregon vegetation as you stroll through some pines, sagebrush and manzanita. You will quickly find yourself down along Whychus Creek and the rush of the water will fill your hears while the towering Ponderosa’s shade you from the sun. Less than half a mile from the trailhead, you will find a nice, sandy beach to dip your feet in if you wish. (Remember for the return trip. You may be hotter then and appreciate it more.)
The trail continues to mosey along near Whychus Creek for about a mile until it begins to climb up out of the canyon. The comfort of the shad quickly disappears as you wade into a sea of manzanita. The benefit though, if you time your hike for the late spring to early summer, this is likely where you will see he majority of the flowers. In about half a mile, you will reach the high point of the trail, where Peterson Ridge pushed up against the creek. Look for some peak-a-boo views of the Sisters though the trees here as well.
After the ridgetop, the trail quickly makes its way back down to the creek. This section of the trail is quite rocky, so be sure to watch your step. Once down, you will quickly make your way to Logjam Falls, a cool little waterfall with masses of logs crammed into the top of it. Continue following the creek for another half a mile until you reach the Cougar Draw Junction.
At the junction with the Cougar Draw trail, you have a choice to make. If you’re feeling fiestly and full of energy, a quick 0.4 miles, 200 foot climb will take you to the Whychus Creek Scenic Overlook, on the Whychus Overlook Trail. There is a beautiful sone viewing platform sitting on the rim of the cliff offering stunning views of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. But if you’re content to just keep following the creek, tread on.
The uppermost portion of the Whychus Creek Trail follows some of the wildest sections of the stream. The trail remains perched up on the hillside for a little while, but eventually does find its way down to the creek. Here, the stream plows its way through smoothed and eroded sections of basalt and rapids flourish everywhere. In about ¾ of a mile, the trail will turn away from the creek and this makes for an ideal place to turn around. If you really want to head the quarter mile or so through the trees to the Upper Whychus Creek Trailhead, help yourself. Or maybe you have a car shuttled there… Clever girl……. Or boy.
To reach the Whychus Creek Trail Trailhead, head south on Elm Street towards Three Creeks Lake in Sisters off of Highway 20. Follow that for 4.3 miles and boom, you’re there. The trailhead will be a small parking area to your right.
Dogs: Allowed and must be on leash or under voice command at all times.
Open Season: The area is accessible all year round, but may have snow or mud in the winter.
Flowers: May and June are typically the best months to see some flowers.