Nestled in a forested nook between the snowy Cascade Mountains and Central Oregon’s High Desert, the city of Sisters, with its outpost architecture and lack of even one stoplight, exudes a small-town charm that attracts visitors from across the nation.
Within a 20-mile drive from mountain lakes, breathtaking outlooks, hiking, biking and skiing trails, top-notch fly-fishing access, and whitewater thrills, the area has everything to offer every outdoor enthusiast. Jutting out from the surrounding forests are landmarks like the Three Sisters and Broken Top mountains, Black Butte and Mount Jefferson, to name a few. The verdant Metolius River and rugged Crooked River meander and slice through the topography at many intersections along the way.
In winter, there’s downhill skiing and snowboarding at either Hoodoo to the west or Mount Bachelor to the southwest. The Deschutes National Forest, on Sisters’ doorstep, provides access to numerous trails for cross- country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
In summer, the same trails make for some of the best hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking around. Snow melt-fed lakes and spring- fed rivers offer opportunities for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
During the summer months in Sisters, scarcely a weekend passes without an event … or several. American arts, crafts and culture are much celebrated by residents of Sisters, and it shows in their annual lineup of events.
The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, held on the second Saturday on each July, is the largest in the country and will enter into its 42nd year.
American music is celebrated at the Sisters Folk Festival. Recently completing
its 22nd year, the Festival features folk music from blues to bluegrass.
One of the community’s most exciting and longest-running events is the Sisters Rodeo and Parade, held each year in June. Going into its 77th year, the “Biggest Little Show in the World” entertains audiences at one of America’s most quintessential Western competitions.
Sister is also home to Sisters Glory Daze Car Show, Sisters Antiques in the Park, the Country Fair & Art Show and the Sisters Fresh Hop Fest.
Many visitors simply enjoy a stroll around downtown, with its unique shops, galleries and homey restaurants. The city, named after the 10,000- foot Three Sisters Mountains just to the west, began as a crossroads for Native American travelers crossing from the High Desert to the Willamette Valley and Columbia River. Although the area was platted for the city of Sisters in 1901, it wasn’t officially incorporated until 1946. From the 1930s through the ’50s, Sisters’ population grew with the rise of several small- and medium-sized sawmills. But in the 1960s, the town’s population began to decline with the lingering slump in the lumber industry.
That trend began to reverse in the latter part of the decade when a subsidiary of Brooks-Scanlon Inc., one of the largest timber companies in Oregon, decided to develop Black Butte Ranch, a residential resort community about 10 miles west. The ranch needed stores, so the developer offered $1,500 to each store to design a Western-style storefronts and signs. Most took up the offer, and the city eventually made the Western theme part of the building code.
Today, Sisters thrives as both a community in which its residents take great pride, and as a tourism economy. Whether visitors come to enjoy the abundant and spectacular scenery, peek into downtown attractions, participate in a real working dude ranch at Long Hollow Ranch, or treat the family to an upscale resort vacation at nearby Black Butte Ranch, there’s something for everyone in Sisters, Oregon.
To find something for you in Sisters, take a look at Sister’s Magazine.