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Three Sisters - Mink Lake - Labor Day 3-Day Backpacking Trip

  • Sep 1, 2012 · 6:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

HIKE DESCRIPTION: This three day Labor Day trip into the Three Sister’s Wilderness will take us to one of the most awesome wilderness lakes I have seen: Mink Lake. This three-quarter mile long lake is not only beautiful to behold, but also has some beautiful campsites with awesome views of the lake. One of these campsites is on a long, shaded peninsula with a 300 degree view of the lake; complete with great access to water and fishing if you desire. As you might guess, this is the one I’m looking to grab. We’ll head out of town early on Saturday to Cultus Lake, jump on the Cultus Lake trail, and head 11 miles into the Three Sisters Wilderness. On Sunday, for those who wish a little more exercise, I am willing to lead a 5.7 mile day hike to visit a number of the surrounding lakes. Those who wish to take it easy should feel free to stay in camp and enjoy the views, read a book, bask in the sun, go swimming, or try their hand a fishing this wonderful lake. Monday morning, we will pack up and head home, stopping for dinner along the way.

MEETUP TIME AND LOCATION: Meetup time will be 6:00AM. It’s early, but trust me. Location will be determined at the pre-hike meeting. I will recommend leaving our cars at someone’s residence to make sure they are safe for two days. See Carpooling Plan below.
TOTAL 3-DAY HIKING DISTANCE: 27.2 miles (with dayhike)
DOGS: YES, if your dog can make these distances and you bring a leash you can hike with. Please remember, pets must abide by the same trail etiquette as the rest of the team.
CARPOOLING PLAN: Final carpooling plans will be discussed at the pre-hike meeting. We will attempt to get as many people carpooling to the meetup site as possible.
CARPOOLING COST: We recommend each non-driving person donate 10 cents/mile to be split evenly between all drivers. For this hike, the total round trip driving distance for our drivers will be about 400 miles or $40 bucks per non-driving person. Please bring this amount in cash to the meetup location so we can give to our drivers before we leave. BTW, if you cannot afford this, sign up anyway because our policy is never to turn anyone away who cannot pay!
HIKE MAPS: Map lovers can send me an email through the meetup and I will be happy to send you a copy of the USGS topo hike map.

DEPOSIT: $15.00 deposit is required. This deposit if intended to discourage late cancellations and no shows. Refunds will be promptly provided for any one cancelling prior to 12:01AM, Friday 8/24/12. Mark this date on your calendars. The late cancellation date is set to allow people on the waiting list one week to plan. Cancelling late or not showing up (including pre-hike meeting) will also get you onto the Late Cancellation/No Show List, and backpacking trips are two strike events.

AFTER HIKE: Bring money with you for our post-hike dinner on Monday afternoon. We’ll stop in Bend or Sisters for a bite.

MANDATORY PRE-HIKE MEETING: The will be a mandatory pre-hike meeting at the Old Market Pub, 6959 SW Multnomah Blvd in Portland on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 at 7:00 PM. This meeting will take about one hour and is critical to setting up carpooling, talking about gear sharing, and covering safety issues. It is also a great social event to meet the people you are going to spend the weekend with. The meeting is mandatory for all team members.

Hike Details:

Day 1:
From the meetup site, we will head south to Salem. At Salem, we will head east on HW22, then East on HW 20, and south on HW97. On HW97, we will take exit 153 towards Mount Bachelor staying on County Road 40 until we reach FSR 4630 about 20 miles later where County Road crosses Lava Lake Road. We’ll cross the road, staying on FSR 4630 until we reach FSR 4635, where we will turn right and park about 1.7 miles further in towards Cultus Lake. Here is a Google Map of the route starting from Salem: Salem to Cultus Lake.

At the Cultus Lake Trailhead, we will begin our hike west along the north side of the lake. We will continue straight until we reach the second junction where we will take a right and continue past the junction to Teddy Lakes. At Muskrat Lake we will take a lunch break. After lunch, we will continue on to the next trail junction just north of Winopee Lake where we will take the trail to the right. We will continue past Finger Lake, Upper Snowshoe Lake, Long Lake, and Puppy Lake until we reach the trail junction with the PCT. We will turn right onto the PCT and hike past Desane and South Lakes to the junction with Trail 3525. We will hang a left here and travel north to the shore of Mink Lake. We will take the lake trail to the left and head around the west side of the lake to our camp site. If all goes per plan, we will arrive about 4:00 to 5:00pm.

Total Day 1 Miles: 10.8 miles
Starting Elevation: 4700 feet
Ending Elevation: 5040 feet
Highest Elevation: 5280 feet (Exactly One Mile!)
Total All Major Elevation Gains: About 700 feet
Difficulty Level (1-6): 2-3, Moderate/Challenging
Water Availability: Longest stretch without water = 4.5 miles

Day 2:
We will take off from the campsite the way we came in. After the trail junction we will continue along the edge of the lake on Trail 4353. We will quickly pass two more trail junctions, taking a right at each on our way to Porky Lake. After Porky Lake, we will take a right onto the PCT and in a very short distance, turn left onto the short spur trail to Cliff Lake. After taking in the sites, we will go back to the PCT, hang a left, travel south and visit Moody and then Horseshoe Lake. We will probably stop for a snack break here. Staying on the PCT as it veers west, we will visit Merrill, Mac, and South Lakes on our way back to the junction with Trail 3525 where we will take a right to Mink Lake and the campsite. Anyone not wanting to take the day hike will be very pleased with the solitude and views at the camp site while we are gone.

Total Day 2 Miles: 5.7 miles
Starting Elevation: 5040 feet
Ending Elevation: 5040 feet
Max Elevation: 5280 feet
Total All Major Ascents: 650 feet
Difficulty Level (1-6): 2, Moderate
Water Availability: Longest distance without water = 3.5 miles

Day 3:
Return the same way we came in.

Need to Bring:
• Bring 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
• High energy trail snacks
• 2 liters of water
• Water resistant hiking boots/shoes
• Whistle around your neck for communication
• Sleeping bag, and sleeping pad or air mattress
• A water-resistant hat
• Rain jacket and pants, or rain poncho
• Two or three light layers of clothing that can be adjusted or removed as necessary
• Pack Cover
• Spare socks
• Flashlight or headlamp
• First aid kit
• Knife
• Lighter
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries including Toilet Paper
• Mess Kit.
• Insect Repellant
Items we can share:
• Water filters
• Tents
• Stove and fuel
• Saw
• Fire Starters
• Maps, Compass, GPS
• Rope
Optional Items:
• Trekking Poles
• Camera
• Fishing Gear
• Favorite Book
• Swimming Suit

Note: If there are folks on the waiting list and a spot opens up, everyone on the wait list will get an email. The first person who RSVPs YES gets the spot.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey, sorry this is late coming. A couple of you wanted to know about this company that does repairs and modifications on tents and packs and such. Here's the link I said I'd post:

    Also there's this page on REI's website:


    September 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great trip! The weather was perfect, no bugs, and met a few more folks that enjoy the greatest sport there is. I counted 15 named lakes during this trip, each as nice as the next. Not to mention several new camp sites to visit on future trips. Thanks for a great trip.

    September 6, 2012

  • Jeff C.

    This was my frist backpacking trip . It was outstanding and lots of fun . It was nice to be with a group of people that can show me how a backpacking should be done .Thank you Randy for the great weekend

    September 5, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi waitlist people,
    If your schedule is flexible, you might consider coming on my four-night trip in the Three Sisters Wilderness the same weekend! It's going to be awesome!

    August 26, 2012

  • Lisa M

    As long as I can share a tent with someone (I don't have my own), I should be good. I was thinking I'd try to get everything ready before the pretrip meeting and then come with questions. Do you have a map of where we'll be, specifically? Or, can you tell me where I can buy my own map?

    August 20, 2012

  • Lisa M

    I'm really excited! I've been on a couple guided backpacking trips through my grad school but this is my first trip in Oregon. What sort of temperatures will we be experiencing?

    August 20, 2012

  • Jeff C.

    This is my first backpacking trip . It sounds like a lot of fun .

    August 20, 2012

  • Jeff C.

    Hi All. I have a very good friend who lives in Sisters and I will email him tonight to ask if we can park at his home. I am confident he would be happy to have us. Jeff

    July 5, 2012

7 went

  • A former member
    +3 guests
  • A former member

Your organizer's refund policy for Three Sisters - Mink Lake - Labor Day 3-Day Backpacking Trip

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled

Additional notes: Or if the the member cancels before 12:01AM, Friday 8/24/12.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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