Green Lakes Trail

A hike with a beer namesake? That’s got to a be a pretty good sign! This hike (and it’s beer) is a Bend staple. Crisp, clean, and positively mood-altering; The Green Lakes Trail is a robust, and full bodied hike. Beer metaphors aside, when my friend called and asked me to last-minute-join her on on the trail, I was literally hoppy.

It is, after all, the quintessential Bend hike. I’ve encountered old friends, eagle scouts, retirees, horses, llamas, and dogs on this trail. Understandably popular, this trail plays like a ‘Greatest Hits’ CD. Everyone has their favorite part! Is it that first big waterfall along Fall Creek? The wildflower meadow just past the log crossing? Perhaps the corridor of shining obsidian? Even first time visitors will soon be singing the tune they learned along the way to Green Lakes.

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Dave’s favorite spot to cool off!
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Nicole’s favorite rock!
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My favorite picnic spot!
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My daughter’s favorite view, Broken Top!
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My dog’s favorite spot, in the water!

This year we hiked on August 1st, the weather in Bend was 101 degrees, and it was 86 at the trailhead. Halfway up the trail I declared that I was going to wallow in the first pack of snow I saw. It was then that my friend so poignantly said “There is no snow.” It was a grim realization, this year our county has issued a drought. I hadn’t thought much about the effects until just then. I had been proud of my zero scaped yard, boasting of it’s waterless-ness. Here my anti-yard hardly seemed to matter. Before me stood two massively snow-naked mountain tops. I wondered, if an Ice- Age glacier melts, does it ever build back up? What will happen to all of the glacial fed streams when the glaciers disappear? Bend’s main water supply is glacial.

Looking back on photos from years past, the contrast in snow pack is drastic! Even the blue of the sky seems, less full.

I know this year, I’ll pray for snow!

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South Sister on August 1st, 2012.
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Snow on Obsidian Field, August 2012

The Green Lakes Trailhead is located 27 miles West of Bend on Century Drive. It is an 8.4 mile out-and-back trail with an 1,100 foot elevation gain. Camping is allowed in any of the 28 designated tent sites. No fires allowed in the basin.

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