Three Sisters Three Rivers

location Oregon, USA
We recognize Indigenous Peoples as the traditional stewards of this land. Moreflag On Grand Ronde & Klamath Land
  • Distance

    325 Mi.

    (523 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (8,214 M)
  • High Point


    (2,047 M)
  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • 5
    Climbing Scale Moderate83 FT/MI (16 M/KM)
  • -
    Technical Difficulty
  • -
    Physical Demand
  • -
    Resupply & Logistics
About Our Ratings

Contributed By

Gabriel Amadeus - Limberlost

Gabriel Amadeus

The Three Sisters Three Rivers route criss-crosses Oregon's Cascade Range from the dry desert forest trails of Bend and Sisters to the hot springs and alpine ridges of the Upper Willamette to the lush, western flanks of the Calapooya Range, blue pools, and hot springs of the North Umpqua Trail.
Share Facebook 0 Twitter Pinterest

Looking at the route’s meandering squiggle on a map doesn’t tell its rugged and beautiful story. What makes this route unique is the mountain bike trail systems and terrain it links up. Three Sisters Three Rivers is ambitious. It covers loose, sandy ponderosa terrain outside of Bend, Oregon to the lush, wet, mossy trails of the North Umpqua River and everything in between. It covers over 300 miles—the vast majority of which are on singletrack. And not any singletrack.

Climbing 27,000′ and descending cliff-hugging technical singletrack, this route challenges the most stalwart rider. Secluded campsites on glacier-fed lake shores, hot springs, and volcanic flows make it an instant classic. See stunning views of the Three Sisters from the east, north, west, and south. Knock off five of the best trail systems Oregon has to offer!

  • When Bike Magazine needed a location to test 36 of the year’s best bikes where did it come? Bend.
  • What community hosts the largest mountain bike race in Oregon? Sisters.
  • What trail was named the best in the US in 2008? McKenzie River Trail.
  • What community did IMBA designate as one of the top 10 ride centers in the world? Oakridge.
  • What Oregon trail has received one of the highest honors possible, IMBA Epic status? North Umpqua Trail.

We’ve spent years getting lost in Central Oregon’s vast National Forests finding little-traveled trails and long-forgotten historic wagon roads linking up each of these stupendous trails. Each one is a worthy destination. On the Three Sisters Three Rivers route not only will you sample each one, but you’ll connect the remote dots between them.

Submit Route Alert

As the leading creator and publisher of bikepacking routes, endeavors to maintain, improve, and advocate for our growing network of bikepacking routes all over the world. As such, our editorial team, route creators, and Route Stewards serve as mediators for route improvements and opportunities for connectivity, conservation, and community growth around these routes. To facilitate these efforts, we rely on our Bikepacking Collective and the greater bikepacking community to call attention to critical issues and opportunities that are discovered while riding these routes. If you have a vital issue or opportunity regarding this route that pertains to one of the subjects below, please let us know:

  • **Advocacy opportunities may include bringing awareness to a new trail project, conservation initiative, access potential, or local effort that we might help with or bring awareness to via our broad-reaching platform.

  • *By clicking submit, you're also subscribing to our email list. You'll receive an opt-in email before being added.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Trail Notes


  • Little Three Creeks Lake campsite
  • Headwaters of the Metolius River
  • Big Lake and views of Mt Washington
  • McKenzie River’s Blue Pool
  • Hidden Lake’s fleet of log rafts
  • Elk Camp Shelter on Alpine Trail
  • Brewer’s Union Local 180 in Oakridge
  • Chuckles Spring
  • Timpanogas Lake Shelter
  • Windy Pass spur and Cowhorn Mountain hike
  • Umpqua Hot Springs
  • Burgers at Dry Creek Store on the Umpqua
  • Many spur options right on the route if you want even more singletrack

When To Go

  • Great all summer long, snow lingers through mid June in the passes, and flurries start flying in September.


  • Most trails are signed but being confident with GPS navigation is a must. Paper maps for the whole route would be cumbersome.
  • The route is not a loop. Contact Cog Wild for shuttles to the start and to be picked up. The Breeze bus from Portland to Bend requires your bike be boxed.
  • Contact Crows Feet Commons in Bend for info on where to park and local trail beta.
  • You’ll get sick of singletrack, trust us. There are alternate (paved) options along most of the route if you need to bail.
  • Most campgrounds are marked on the map (of which there are many) but there are even more bushcamp options along the route.
  • Practice Leave No Trace ethics when camping anywhere.
  • There are many rustic shelter options along the route. Most are infrequently occupied and don’t require a reservation. And are quite rustic.
  • Even late in a dry summer we had no problem finding water on the route. (ahem: “Three Rivers”) Be smart about when you fill up. Elk Camp Shelter does not have a reliable water source so load up 5-10 miles before you reach camp.
  • There are many (limited) food re-supply points along the route. (noted on the map) Some have weird hours and strange selections but you won’t starve. If planned smartly you won’t need to carry more than 2 days worth at any time.
  • Don’t miss Spork and Chow in Bend, Melvin’s in Sisters, Brewer’s Union Local 180 in Oakridge, and Dry Creek Store on the Umpqua.
  • We took 8 days to ride the route. Logistically it was a good length, but we both wish we had taken a rest day in Oakridge. Our shortest day (20 miles up the Middle Fork) was one of the toughest. Our longest day (North Umpqua Trail) should have been split up into two days even though it was “all downhill.”
  • There’s a fair bit of climbing overall, but for as much downhill singletrack riding you get it’s really not bad. The two heinous climbs are the Indian Ridge climb between the McKenzie and Oakridge, and the Stairway to Hell climb to Timpanogas Lake.
  • 90% of the route is unpaved, 60% is singletrack. This is slower and harder than you think. Some of it is really good, fast, flowy singletrack; some is gnarly, steep, overgrown, and technical singletrack. Reassess your expectations.
  • Some trails are not kept up as frequently as others. Expect downed trees, burned forests, re-routes, elk stampedes, or mud slides at least three times each day.
  • There are a few double digit climbs, and a few log bridges or creek hops, but overall there aren’t any sustained pushwhacking legs.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.





Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.