After back to back 14 mile days we had something more reasonable planned for our drive home on Memorial Day. We had started the weekend with two hikes along Whychus Creek east of Sisters (post). On Monday we stopped at the Whychus Creek Trailhead 4.2 miles west on Elm Street (Forest Road 16) of Highway 20 in Sisters. The trailhead doesn’t seem to be listed on the Deschutes National Forest webpage (They do show the Whychus Creek Overlook Trailhead which is an alternate starting point.)
We actually wound up having to park at a temporary trailhead 1000′ past the official trailhead which was closed for construction (not sure what was being constructed).
The Whychus Creek Trail followed Whychus Creek through a mixed forest with juniper and sagebrush from the high desert, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifers from the Cascades.
We really noticed how much more water there was in the creek here, before reaching the diversion ditches closer to Sisters.
Less than a half mile into the hike we passed a series of rock ledges where native tribes appear to have once camped.
The trail reached the bank of Whychus Creek at the overhang then climbed back above the creek gaining a view of the top of the North Sister. A few wildflowers added color to the landscape and birds added their song to the sound of the creek.
North Sister in the distance.
Just over a mile and a half from the trailhead the Whychus Creek Trail descended back down to the creek passing under some cliffs.
The penstemon really liked the cliff area.
Looking up stream we could see the logjam waterfall which is the goal of Sullivan’s described hike in his 5th edition Central Oregon Cascades guidebook (hike #31).
Near the two mile mark we arrived at a series of viewpoints of the falls atop rocks.
There was a second smaller cascade a little further upstream.
Sullivan suggests turning back here but just over a half mile away was the Whychus Creek Overlook. A 0.9 mile barrier free loop visits the overlook from the Whychus Creek Overlook Trailhead (see link above). We continued past the falls for approximately 0.2 miles to a signed trail junction.
We turned left onto the Whychus Draw Trail which led briefly up a draw before turning more steeply uphill traversing an open hillside to the overlook.
Mt. Hood sighting.
Mt. Jefferson and Black Butte
White breasted nuthatch
Golden mantled ground squirrel
The Whychus Draw Trail connected to the south side of the Whychus Overlook Trail about a hundred feet from the actual overlook.
Broken Top and the Three Sisters (bonus points for spotting the golden mantled ground squirrel)
Lewis flax at the overlook.
Buckwheat and penstemon
Whychus Creek below with the Three Sisters on the horizon.
Tam McArthur Rim (post) and Broken Top
Middle and North Sister
Three Fingered Jack
After admiring the view from the overlook we hiked the loop. One side (north) is one-way traffic coming from the trailhead to the overlook so we followed the south half of the loop 0.4 to the trailhead then followed the north side 0.5 miles back to the overlook. Two benches along the north side offered additional views to the NNW.
Interpretive sign along the trail.
Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and Black Butte
From the overlook we returned to the car the way we’d come. It was a pleasant 5.9 mile hike with some great views and scenery, a perfect way to end the holiday weekend. Happy Trails!
Flickr: Whychus Creek Trail