Active + Adventure

Great Summer Mountain Towns

by Sarah Tuff

Sisters, Oregon

The hills are alive with: Climbing

Get elevated: Remember that perfect Lincoln Logs town you built? The one your brother bulldozed with his Big Wheel? Picture it again—only smack in the middle of Oregon's snowcapped Cascade Mountains, with 300 days of sunshine each year. That's Sisters, a town of 1,706 that lies just 20 miles northwest of Bend but gets far less tourist traffic. Sisters was named for Faith, Hope, and Charity (since renamed North, Middle, and South), the three major peaks that surround the log cabins and 19th-century storefronts that constitute downtown. Unless you're a serious mountaineer, the best one to hike is South Sister, where a five-and-a-half-mile, nontechnical trail—no ropes or crampons needed—leads to the summit of 10,358 feet. Simply climb into your canopied bed at the Grand Palace Hotel, which has train and cowboy "theme" suites. But save time for jalapeno bread at the bakery and ribs and beer at Bronco Billy's Ranch Grill and Saloon, a local landmark too risqué for Lincoln Logs.

Peak time: All summer

Grand Palace Hotel
Tel: 541 549 2211
Doubles from $89

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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