Nestled in a forested nook between the snowy Cascade Mountains and Central Oregon’s High Desert, the city of Sisters exudes the small-town charm that has made it famous across the nation.
Sisters has become so well known for its scenic beauty and old-time downtown that thousands of visitors each year also flock there to enjoy the year-round pleasures of life in the pines.
In winter, there’s downhill skiing and snowboarding at either the Hoodoo Ski Area to the west or Mount Bachelor to the southwest. Because Sisters border the Deschutes National Forest, there are also numerous trails fro cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobile riding.
In summer, those same trails make for some of the best hiking and mountain biking around. Several rivers running through the area are also favorites for fly fishermen.
Warmer temperatures also bring Sisters’ annual lineup of popular arts and crafts shows, concerts and festivals. From the famous quilt show and rodeo to the burgeoning folk festival, barely a weekend goes by in which there’s not a host of things to do or see.
Many visitors simply enjoy a stroll around downtown, with its unique shops and restaurants.
Sisters has enjoyed a growth spurt in recent years as more people discover the area’s bucolic charm.
Sisters was once 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. The city is named after the 10,000-foot Three Sisters mountains to the west. On a clear day, all three mountains - Faith, Hope and Charity - can be seen piercing the sky on the horizon.
From the 1930s through the 50s, Sister’s population grew steadily with the rise of several small and medium sized sawmills. But in the 1960s the town’s population began to decline with the closure of several mills and a 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 storefront and sign. Most took up the offer, and the city eventually made the western theme part of the building code.
Central Oregon Visitors Association
661 SW Powerhouse Drive, Suite 1301, Bend, OR 97702
Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce
164 N Elm St, Sisters
Sisters Oregon Guide
A guide to Sisters area events, history and recreation