Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Posts Tagged ‘three sisters photos’

Come Experience Central Oregon’s Autumn: A Planning Itinerary from Pacific Crest Stock

 

Although Central Oregon is probably best known for all of its winter and summer fun, we think it might actually be at its best during autumn. Between the months of September and October, the Central Oregon towns of Bend, Sisters, Camp Sherman, and Sunriver are blessed with reliably sunny days, cool clear nights, and absolutely spectacular fall color. If you haven’t experienced autumn in Central Oregon, you’re really missing out on a special time. To help get you get started on planning next year’s vacation, the Pacific Crest Stock Photography team has pasted some suggestions below with photos from some of our favorite fall-time trails and activities.

Ten Things to Do During Central Oregon’s Autumn Months

1. Go hiking in the lava flows around the Three Sister Wilderness Area. There are many different lava flows to choose from within a short drive of Bend, Sunriver, or Sisters. Most of the lava flows are interspersed with vine maples and other vegetation, which turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow during the autumn months.

 

Backpacker standing on a lava flow near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

Backpacker standing on a lava flow near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

 

2. Go biking through a grove of aspen trees. Some of the best groves of aspen trees are found along the Deschutes River or Tumalo Creek Basin near Bend, the Ochoco National Forest outside of Prineville, the High Desert Museum between Bend and Sunriver, or near Black Butte Ranch along the outskirts of Sisters.

 

 Biking through aspen trees outside of Sisters, Oregon.

Biking through aspen trees outside of Sisters, Oregon.

 

3. Go hiking or biking on the Deschutes River Trail. The Deschutes River Trail is a real gem of a trail that runs through the Deschutes National Forest and connects the towns of Bend and Sunriver. It contains several beautiful waterfalls and large groves of Ponderosa pine, larch trees, and aspen trees. This is a perfect place to hike or bike with small children.

 

Fall color along the Deschutes River Trail near Bend, Oregon.

Fall color along the Deschutes River Trail near Bend, Oregon.

 

4. Go explore the forest service roads bordering the Mount Washington Wilderness Area. There is a wonderful network of roads that runs between highways 126 and 242 just outside of Sisters, Oregon. The roads provide access to the Mount Washington Wilderness Area and also provide great wide-open views of Black Butte, Three Fingered Jack, and Three Sisters Mountains. In September and October, the roads explode with fall color. For more information and photos from the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, see our previous entry.

 

Fall color around one of the many lakes near the Mount Washington Wilderness Area.

Fall color around one of the many lakes near the Mount Washington Wilderness Area.

 

5. Go biking or rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock State Park is always a magical place to visit, but it is especially nice in autumn when the banks of the Crooked River are alive with color. Because of its desert location, Smith Rock also tends to stay a few degrees warmer than the surrounding mountain towns of Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. This makes it an especially nice road trip on cooler October days. For more information and photos from Smith Rock State Park, see our previous entry.

 

 Mountain biking at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon.

Mountain biking at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon.

 

6. Go visit the Camp Sherman Store and the Wizard Falls trout hatchery on the Metolius River. The world-famous Metolius River and the locally-loved Camp Sherman Store are two of the most special places in Central Oregon. The Metolius River puts on one of the most colorful autumn displays in the region, and between the fly fishing and hiking opportunities along the banks of the river, the trout-viewing at the Wizard Falls hatchery, and the awesomely huge sandwiches and well-stocked selection of local microbrews at the Camp Sherman Store, this stop belongs on your list of “must-do” activities. This is also a perfect place to hike with small children, and if your little ones need a little extra motivation, it might be nice to know that the Camp Sherman Store offers a large selection of penny candy (yes, a penny!). For more information and photos from the Metolius River, see our previous entry.

 

Wizard Falls on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman, Oregon.

Wizard Falls on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman, Oregon.

 

7. Go for a drive over McKenzie Pass. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the drive up and over McKenzie Pass is one of the most scenic drives in North America. It offers a fascinating tour through the middle of a huge lava flow that is surrounded on both sides by touring Cascade Mountain peaks. There are tons of short hikes and explorations that can be accessed from the road over McKenzie Pass. After the highway closes in late autumn, the McKenzie Pass area also becomes one of region’s premier biking destinations. For more information and photos, see our previous entries about McKenzie Pass or the McKenzie River.

 

Autumn color around Tamolitch Pool (also known as the Blue Pool) on the McKenzie River Trail.

Autumn color around Tamolitch Pool (also known as the Blue Pool) on the McKenzie River Trail.

 

8. Go hiking or biking on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls. Although many visitors know about Tumalo Falls, few people venture beyond the top of the first waterfall. The real secret about this area is that there are at least another half-dozen impressive waterfalls hiding just a short ways up the trail. Hikers usually make the trip as an out-and-back adventure. Bikers are allowed only on the uphill section of the trail, so if you’re on a bike, continue past the last waterfall at the 3.5 mile mark, ride through the wide open Happy Valley and then cross over the stream to your right. After crossing the stream, the path continues along a section of the Metolius-Windigo Trail before dropping back down to the parking lot on the opposite side of Tumalo Falls via the Farewell Bend Trail. The entire loop is about 11 miles. For more information and photos from the Tumalo Falls area, see our previous entry.

 

Autumn color at Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon.

Autumn color at Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon.

 

9. Go fly fishing at one of Central Oregon’s many high alpine lakes or spring-fed streams. Central Oregon is blessed with a huge collection of high alpine lakes and spring-fed trout streams, which makes it a fisherman’s paradise. You could spend years visiting all of the lakes and streams hidden in the woods along the Cascade Lakes Highway, Santiam Pass, or McKenzie Pass, and never have to fish the same place twice. Grab your fly rod and go exploring. You know there’s a lunker waiting for you in the ripple.

Fly fishing near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

Fly fishing near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

 

 

10. Go for a drive over Santiam Pass. In autumn, the drive over Santiam Pass looks like something from a fairy tale. The windy, two-lane highway hugs the shoulder of the Santiam Rivers’ North Fork for many miles, and there is a splendid display of bright red vine maples nearly the entire way between summit of the pass (4,800 feet) and Detroit Lake (1,400 feet). This is definitely the route of choice if you’re coming to Central Oregon from Salem or Portland.

 

Autumn moss and maple leaves on the Santiam River.

Autumn moss and maple leaves on the Santiam River.

 

NOTE: Many of the activities above involve hiking or biking through our region’s National Forest areas. In autumn, it is important to remember that hikers and bikers are often sharing these areas with big-game hunters. As always, appropriate precautions and good common sense are highly recommended when venturing into the forest during hunting season.

To license these or any of our other stunning Central Oregon images, please visit our Oregon stock photos site, Pacific Crest Stock

Posted by Troy McMullin

 


New Outdoor Adventure Gallery at Pacific Crest Stock Photography

This is an announcement that we’ve have been waiting to make for quite some time.  Pacific Crest Stock has recently created a new Outdoor Adventure gallery that includes images of people interacting with the natural environment.  At this point, we’re limiting our collection to photos of people participating in human-powered sports, such as hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and fly fishing.  We’re working hard to expand our collection, and anticipate that we will be adding to the list of outdoor adventure sports in the near future.  Just to give you a hint of what you’ll find in the new gallery, we have posted some of our favorite new Oregon stock photos below.

Sample Backcountry Skiing Images from Pacific Crest Stock photography:

Hiking up the south face of Three Fingered Jack Mountain near Sisters, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Hiking up the south face of Three Fingered Jack Mountain near Sisters, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backcountry skiing near the Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backcountry skiing near the Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Sample Mountain Biking Images from Pacific Crest Stock photography:

Mountain biking near Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Mountain biking near Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Biking at Lookout Mountain in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Biking at Lookout Mountain in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Mountain biking above Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Mountain biking above Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Mountain biking in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Mountain biking in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Sample Backpacking Images from Pacific Crest Stock photography:

Backpacking in the Mount Hood Wilderness Area near Government Camp, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backpacking in the Mount Hood Wilderness Area near Government Camp, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backpacking near Mirror Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area near Joseph, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backpacking near Mirror Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area near Joseph, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.


Backpacking near Camp Lake and South Sister in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Backpacking near Camp Lake and South Sister in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Sample Fly Fishing Images from Pacific Crest Stock photography:

 Fly fishing at Paulina Lake in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Fly fishing at Paulina Lake in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Fly fishing at Aneroid Lake in Eastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Fly fishing at Aneroid Lake in Eastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Sample Hiking Images from Pacific Crest Stock photography:

Hiking near the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon.  Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Hiking near the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

 Hiking in Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area near Bend, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

Hiking in Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area near Bend, Oregon. Image available at Pacific Crest Stock photography.

We’re very excited about our new collection of stock photos, and we hope that you will be too.  If you like what you see,  please bookmark the new Outdoor Adventure gallery and check back often as it will be updated frequently.  For licensing information, call us at 541-610-4815.


Killer Rattlesnakes and Photos from Central Oregon’s Alder Springs Trail!

One of my favorite  and lesser known Central Oregon destinations for hiking and Photography is the Whychus Creek canyon, which is best accessed from the Alder Springs trail head south east of the city of Sisters, Oregon.  This beautiful area is monitored and maintained by one of my favorite non-profit groups, the Deschutes Land Trust.  It offers classic high desert views of sagebrush seas, the Three Sisters Mountains, and the Whychus Creek Canyon.  Below is an image of the Three Sisters and Broken Top as seen from near the Alder Springs Trail head.

The Three Sisters and Broken top as seen from near the Alder Springs Trail Head

The Three Sisters and Broken top as seen from near the Alder Springs Trail Head

 

 

      This area is accessible for much of the year because it is lower in elevation than many of the more popular hiking areas of Central Oregon.  Trail details are available from many different local hiking guides and from the Land Trust’s website.  Parking is available at the trail head and the trail is easy to navigate but is not  handicap accessible.  Initially the trail skirts along a high desert ridge with some views of the surrounding buttes, the distant Oregon Cascades, and Whychus Creek far below.  Below is an image of the Whychus Creek Canyon from the Alder Creek Trail.  

Moody skies over the Whychus Creek Canyon along the Alder Springs Trail

Moody skies over the Whychus Creek Canyon along the Alder Springs Trail

 

 

I’ve been to the Alder Springs area many times but I’ve rarely seen the dark and moody skies like those in the above image which help to add interest to this photo.  In addition to the brooding skies, I love the big western feel of this photograph with its raw and rugged canyon zig-zagging into the distance between high desert mesas and the sparse details of junipers and sagebrush dotting the scene.  In early spring during certain years, you might be lucky enough to find a floral gem of the desert, the ephemeral Bitterroot flowers.  Below is one of my favorite groupings of Bitterroot blossoms seen along the Alder Springs trail.  

Bitterroot blossoms as seen along the Alder Springs trail in Central Oregon

Bitterroot blossoms as seen along the Alder Springs trail in Central Oregon

 

 

These delicate flowers seem to glow from within as if they have their own inner light source.  They are a favorite of my farrier friend, Big Todd, because I think they appeal to his delicate and sensitive side.  High along the canyon you can find all sorts of surprises.  I’ve made many trips there in early spring to capture the flamboyant accents of Balsamroot in full bloom.  If you want to enjoy these early season beauties, you should arrive before the deer herds as they seem to be a favorite snack for these foraging ungulates.  Perhaps, more importantly, you should only venture off trail to view these flowers with the knowledge that you will have a good chance of encountering Rattlesnakes fresh from their winter slumbers!  In all seriousness, I’ve noted a very strong correlation between these balsamroot being in bloom and Rattlesnakes coming out of hibernation.  On the day that I shot the following photograph of Balsamroot and basalt columns, I was “rattled” twice by the local serpents.  I was hiking off trail along a steep slope near a big drop down into the canyon floor.  As I crossed a rocky area, I heard a faint rattling noise.  A primal impulse triggered my flight or fight mechanism and I quickly chose the flight option!  As panic ensued I quickly leaped out of the area. During my less than grand exit, I spotted the fluttering tail of the rattlesnake disappear into a rocky crevice directly beneath my dancing feet!  Please keep in mind that I am not especially afraid of snakes, unlike my mother who seems to think they are the devil incarnate.  I simply don’t like being surprised by poisonous snakes while crossing rocky and exposed slopes.  After I’d cleared the area and my heart rate dropped to a reasonable level I rounded a canyon edge and saw another rocky slope I had to cross.  I conjured unhealthy visions of Indiana Jones in Raiders surrounded by viscous asps in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I mentally gathered myself and selected the least exposed route across what the dark side of my imagination perceived as a giant rattlesnake breeding ground.  Mid route I stepped on a loose rock which toppled into an adjacent area and sure enough, RATTTTTTLE!  Panic!  To make matters worse, I was unable to spot my angry foe amidst all the plate sized rocks surrounding my nervous ankles.  I blindly bounded out of the area never seeing the offended serpent.  Perhaps, understandably, it took me a bit longer to compose myself after my second scare of the day.  Eventually I gathered myself and captured the following image of Balsamroot flowers backed by some beautiful lichen covered basalt columns high above Whychus Creek.  

 

Balsamroot flowers and Basalt columns along the Alder Springs Trail near Sisters, Oregon

Balsamroot flowers and Basalt columns along the Alder Springs Trail near Sisters, Oregon

One of my favorite images from this area also involved an adventure into this rattlesnake infested location.  The following image captures some of the most colorful rock formations I’ve ever found.  The brilliant orange and yellow lichen growths are simply stunning and when combined with the vertical accents of the basalt columns they make for a very surreal scene.  I’ve seen few images from this area probably because of the very real threat of rattlesnakes and because of the treacherous locations in which these beautiful rock formations seem to be found.  During the process of capturing the following scene, I was precariously balanced on the very edge of a 50-foot cliff with my left foot  and two legs of the tripod holding my 4×5 camera balanced on loose rocks. On multiple locations my tripod slightly slipped allowing me to experience a different form of terror than that offered by the hidden rattlesnakes!   Eventually I captured the following photo and then took a longer but rattlesnake-free route out of the Whychus Creek Basin.

Lichen covered basalt columns at sunset high above Whychus Creek along the Alder Springs Trai

Lichen covered basalt columns at sunset high above Whychus Creek along the Alder Springs Trail

 

 

The stunning color combinations, the vertical accents and the warm evening light make this one of my favorite fine art images.  

     In regards to the Alder Springs Trail, it really is quite special.  From desert mesas to cold flowing springs, beautiful sights are everywhere.  The trail passes through a spring laden oasis of plant life and eventually to the confluence of Whychus Creek and the mighty Deschutes River.  The take home message from this trail is that if the balsamroot have begun to bloom and you are wary of rattlesnakes, you should consider staying on the trail!  If you are interested in licensing any of these images, please visit the High Desert Gallery of our stock photography site, Pacific Crest Stock.  

By Mike Putnam