The lovely tourist town of Sisters in the high desert country of central Oregon is named for three drowsing volcanoes that delight and inspire. North Sister is Faith, and at an elevation of 10094 feet is just a smidgen taller than sibling Hope, and about 300 feet shorter than Charity to the south. The sisters are part of a seven mountain contingent which includes Mt. Jefferson, Three Finger Jack (some say it’s named for a trapper who lived in the area and whose hand was not as fast as the jaws of his trap), Mt. Washington, and Broken Top, which lost its head in a volcanic eruption eons ago.
Visitors can find pleasurable exercise ranging from leisurely day hikes to more serious backpacking or mountain climbing, horseback riding, water skiing, wind surfing, rafting, fishing, biking, and golf. Winter months beckon alpine and cross-country skiers. Less athletic warm-weather visitors can pick huckleberries, bird watch, or just revel in fields of wild flowers. Year-round the natural scenery is a tonic to the senses and an inspiration to painters and photographers.
On a roadmap, Sisters is the top of a triangle with its base angles at Bend and Redmond, each 20 miles away. The leg running northwest from Bend is Highway 20 -- a bit wobbly as it crosses through the tiny settlement of Tumalo, location of the Tumalo Feed Company, a restaurant which boasts the best steaks in Central Oregon and where martinis are served in canning jars that will fill your glass twice. Highway 97 connects Bend and Redmond and forms the base of the triangle. Sisters has a population of only 911 year-round dwellers, one of whom exults that the nearest traffic light is 20 miles from town. All three points of the triangle share equally in views of dark buttes and perennially snow-clad peaks.
Logging and cattle have long taken a backseat to tourism as Sisters’ main source of income. The town fills up for the annual outdoor quilt show on the second weekend in July. B&Bs near Camp Sherman on the Metolius River must be booked well in advance of the summer months, when events and activities are most numerous and when outdoor weddings take place at the scenic locales of Black Butte, Smith Rock, Eagle Crest (a popular time share destination), and other sites in town not far from Sisters.
Golfers can select from courses such as Aspen Lakes in Sisters, three courses at Eagle Crest, and two at Black Butte. Also nearby are courses in Redmond, Prineville, and Crooked River Ranch.
Within a 100-mile circle of Sisters is some of the finest lake, creek and wild river fishing in the American West. The Metolius River springs from the ground near Camp Sherman. Toss bread crumbs into the stream from the Camp Sherman bridge and watch trout the length of your forearm gobble them up.
Visit Sisters, Oregon, if you have the chance. You will feel like part of the family.