- Trip Name: Green Lakes Trail
- Trip Length: 9.2 miles out-and-back
- Trip Time: 4-5 hours
- Best time to visit: Summer to early fall
- Difficulty rating: 4
- Views: 8
- Wilderness experience: 4 (can be crowded)
- Recommended activities: Day hike, dogs (leash required July 15 - September 15)
- Best for: Hikers, families, dogs
- Restroom: Yes, at Green Lakes Trailhead
- Permit: Northwest Forest Pass ($30 annual pass, $5 day use fee payable on-site)
- Recommended map: Central Oregon hiking Trail Map by AdventureMaps.net
- Click here to download our FREE topo trail map
- Click here to purchase the GPS file for this hike ($3)
- Click here to check out our photos from this hike
- Click here to download this Trail Guide as a PDF
Trip Technical Data
- Trailhead: Green Lakes
- Trailhead Elevation: 5,485 feet
- Elevation of Green Lakes: 6,590 feet
- Elevation Gain: 1,105 feet
Driving Directions to trailhead from Bend:
Travel Time: 45 minutes
Heading out of Bend on Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway you will pass the large sign seen to the right. From this sign you will follow Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway for 23.5 miles to the trailhead on your right. Although this is a very popular trailhead the turn into it is unmarked. You will reach it 0.6 mile after passing the well marked Sparks Lake Recreation Area.
The Green Lakes hike, less than one hour out of downtown Bend, is one of the most popular in Central Oregon. This hike is easy to get to, easy to hike and very rewarding with spectacular views and swimming opportunities. The Green Lakes Trail follows Fall Creek almost its entire length before arriving at the beautiful Green Lakes with sweeping views of South Sister and Broken Top.
Starting at the Green Lakes trailhead, find the trail in the northwest corner of the parking area. Make sure to fill out your free wilderness permit at the self service station at the trailhead. The trail starts out nearly flat and almost instantly crosses Fall Creek on a log footbridge. After this crossing the trail steadily and gradually gains elevation as it parallels Fall Creek. Hiking right along the creek affords you many opportunities to gaze at the quick flowing creek and the many waterfalls that add to its beauty.
At 2.0 miles the Greek Lakes Trail and the Moraine Lake Trail intersect. To reach Green Lakes stay to the right on the Green Lakes Trail. Shortly after the Moraine Lake Trail, and crossing Fall Creek once again, you will see a wall of ancient lava flow, the Miller Lava Flow and the Newberry Lava Flow, on the west side of Fall Creek. You will walk in the valley created by these lava flows to your left (west) and the slopes of Broken Top to you right (east) for most of the rest of the way up to Green Lakes.
Just before reaching Green Lakes you will be at the trail junction with the Broken Top Trail to your right and an unnamed trail to your left that circles Green Lakes west shore. This hike continues straight and heads to the east shore of the largest of the Green Lakes.
Once at the south end of Green Lakes there are some options available to you. You can continue around the east side of the largest lake and enjoy the trail as it loops all the way around the lake. You could also proceed to one of the many spots along the southern shore to relax, have lunch or go for a swim.
If you want to make this a loop hike, from the southern edge of Green Lakes follow the Broken Top Trail to the Soda Creek Trail to end up back at the Green Lakes trailhead. This would be about a 12 mile loop hike.
Camping is also an option at Green Lakes. If you choose to make this an overnight trip, be sure to camp in one of the designated campsites which are marked by a post with a tent symbol on top. Dispersed camping is not allowed at Green Lakes.
Once you have relaxed and enjoyed the lake make your way back down the same trail back to the trailhead.
Please let us know how your hike went and share some of your photos on our Facebook page!