Central Oregon:

Its Mountains, Deserts, Trails, Ghost Towns and Fire Lookouts

Central Oregon boasts Oregon's highest lake. A few maps name it Teardrop Pool. It rests unheralded in the thin air, 10,200 ft high on the summit plateau of South Sister Mountain. It's usually frozen and invisible, which is why many climbers of the mountain do not realize its existence. The summit plateau, outwardly calm, sits on top of an ice-filled volcanic crater, in one of Oregon's most active volcanic zones. South Sister ranks as Oregon's third-highest mountain peak (10,358'), just slightly less lofty than Mt. Jefferson. Below is a sunset picture from the summit of South Sister, looking west toward the Willamette Valley and Eugene. (Bend and Redmond and Prineville and Terrebonne and Madras)

Note tent and small black dog to the right of it! We are camping on the edge of a very recent volcanic crater; the permanent ice choking its mouth has been measured at about 200 feet thick. The photographer and his husky Kaila spent a spectacular night in the summit crater of South Sister....... the memory is of a feeling of Polar Emptiness embraced by nearby stars........ In the morning, the sea of clouds below looked like something you could dance on.

Click for more pictures from Summit of South Sister

Click for the lush beauty of Linton Meadows/The Husband in Three Sisters Wilderness

click to see winter snow camping at Tumalo Mountain near Mt. Bachelor

What is Central Oregon's record-coldest city?


North Sister 10,085 feet

Ski-touring high on the east side of the North Sister. It's a trail-less area where you won't be bothered by crowds. Picture compliments Karen Johnson, Bend.

My favorite downtown Bend eating spot? The riverside delights of Bend's Pine Tavern, a local restaurant and icon since 1936, overlooking Mirror Pond. Below is a picture of that Central Oregon icon, Black Butte, elevation 6,436. At its foot runs the major highway from Salem and Eugene, Hwy 20, and in the large meadow is the very upscale Black Butte Ranch, a place that I used to work in the role of head of the Cross Country ski program.


Smith Rock climbing area/Smith Rock State Park

Central Oregon deserts and desert ghost towns like Evans Well

Visit the Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Geographic center of Oregon, Post and Paulina

A Bit of new news about Fort Rock and Oregon Prehistory


Click below to be transported to additional Central Oregon Mountains, and also sections on the historic Pacific Crest Trail, historic wilderness shelters and fire lookout towers (many pages!).

Wilderness Shelters, Pacific Crest Trail, Fire Lookouts, and More Mountains

Paulina Peak, East Lake, Paulina Lake and Newberry Crater (5 pages)


East of Madras and Prineville is John Day River Country and the Ochocos

Click images

Click here to visit the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

To See our selection of images for sale, please visit our Web Gallery page

Thumbnail Gallery

Above: a cold winter night settling in upon Central Oregon. Middle and North Sisters on the left, Black Butte on the right, and the edge of Mt. Jefferson on the extreme right.


E-mailer: click for a direct link Brucej@oregonphotos.com


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Page Last Revised May 4, 2024