Trailgrams: Trail blazin' around Sisters

Hawk's Flight Eagle Rock Loop

 

Last updated 9/5/2023 at 10:03am

Map provided

Close to town, the Hawk's Flight-Eagle Rock Loop offers a fun and easy hiking option.

This is a new, regular feature The Nugget will run periodically. If you have a favorite hike or trail, send it along in about 500 words to [email protected] using the following format, including a photo.

Hawk's Flight-Eagle Rock Loop is a fun and easy loop trail within five miles of town that offers superb views with diverse scenery. It's part of the wondrous Peterson Ridge section of the impressive Sisters Trails Alliance system.

Why go? For one thing it's only a 10-minute drive to the start, making it a perfect impromptu target for those last-minute outings. The trail, while shared with bikers, is low in traffic and provides a mix of all you might want for a family-friendly hike – interesting rock formations, undulating terrain, plenty of shade, and smashing panoramic views.

When to go? There's no best time but on warmer days, the earlier the better. Unless the snow is deeper than 4 or 5 inches, winter is every bit as nice. If muddy, please stay off.

What to expect? The route starts and goes along Peterson Ridge. You are atop and very close to the edge of the ridge, and within 10 minutes you can find yourself looking down 150-foot vertical walls. The path is generally - but not completely - rock free. You won't need rugged hikers. Don't try it in flip-flops either.

There are interesting rock formations along the way that invite play especially for smaller tykes. Some rise starkly among the forest while others appear in the distance. About halfway you will reach Eagle Rock 2 (yes, there's another some miles away). It's possible but not a cakewalk to get to the top.

You can also enjoy it immensely from below the perch, and this is a good spot if you are picnicking.

At roughly the three-quarters, mark is Hawk's Flight, more interesting in the view of many. Be sure to continue counterclockwise around the entire outcropping, down into the ravine, and back up again. The steep rock wall and small caves here are mini adventures where young climbers can improve their skills and confidence.

Photo by Bill Bartlett

It's a loop trail so you can go in reverse, but I much prefer the route below.

Getting there from Sisters: drive about two miles south on Elm as it transitions to Three Creek Road (FS16). To the left is Peterson Mill Road. Turn and drive about two miles, sometimes bumpy and dusty, to where it intersects with 1608-500. Park there and walk back about 150 feet to the trailhead on your left.

Follow the map (shown here) – 23 to 25 to 31 to 26 to Eagle Rock to 26 to 24 to Hawk's Flight; back to 24 to 30 and complete your loop at 23 where you started. The whole thing is under five miles and three hours, which includes lots of wandering and snacking time.

What you'll need: The usual - water, sun screen, and a hat. No permits required. Dogs welcome.

 

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