Distance: approx. 9 miles (more if you have time to explore)
Time: 4 1/2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate with less than 1000 feet of elevation gain
Dog Friendly: Yes, it’s an off leash trail between Sept. 16 and July 14. You may run into pack animals and hunters, so know how your dog behaves around them.
Season: June to October
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Pros: you’re outside, close to Bend, tons of little lakes to explore and pretty meadows
Cons: No mountain views unless you head up Koosah Mountain (we only hiked up to an area where there was significant blow down, snapped a couple of pics and turned around)
This hike is so close to Bend it’s amazing that more people don’t use this trail. The trailhead was super easy to find; approximately 30 miles west of Bend on Cascade lakes Highway. There is a small parking area signed Mirror Lake Trailhead not too far passed Devils Lake (the trailhead for South Sister).
After a mile or two you come across a little pond with a large rock outcropping behind it, this is the last place for water until Sisters Mirror Lake.
Each of the lakes in the area make a perfect place for a picnic and soaking up some sun.
Sisters Mirror Lake skimps on the mountain vistas, but the large meadow, and pretty little surrounding lakes with their perfectly still surfaces totally make up for it. To find the lake you just follow the signs all the way there. There is atleast one place to camp on the far side of the lake and an even cuter place to camp at the neighboring unnamed lake (if you’re headed up Koosah).
I think it’s also possible to head over to Nash Lake and make a loop or balloon shaped hike… (check out a map first!!!)
You’ll reach the lake after about 4- 4 1/2 miles of hiking. And if you’re feeling good you could head down the PCT and up Koosah Mountain to get a little more burn in those quads.
To get back to your car just return the way you came….or if you end up doing the loop over to Nash Lake let me know how it goes.