By Mariah Wilson

When you arrive in the town of Sisters, you feel like you’ve driven back in time to the early days of the Old West, when horses were parked in front of storefronts, and saloons (not breweries) beckoned welcomingly to thirsty cowboys. With its Old West aesthetic—thanks to city-mandated 1880s-style architecture—Sisters is a vibrant little town that’s bursting with old-fashioned charm and small-town ambience.

For family-friendly fun, enjoy a hike alongside the impeccably blue waters of the Metolius River––the trailhead is easily accessed from the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery parking lot. The trail meanders along the river for 4 miles, supplying picturesque views of gushing streams, tiny waterfalls, and old-growth ponderosas. This is an easy hike, and even a short jaunt down the path is worthwhile for the scenery. It’s also a fall favorite due to the changing colors of the foliage––an assortment of orange, rust, yellow, and red leaves surround you on the trail and contrast beautifully with the blue water of the Metolius.

For more outdoor fun, head to Suttle Lake––it’s one of Central Oregon’s most popular natural lakes. Located 13 miles west of Sisters near the crest of the Cascade Mountains, Suttle Lake is great for camping, boating, picnicking, and fishing. A 3-mile trail surrounds the perimeter of the lake, making it an exceptional place to hike and trail-ride as you wind through the forest and skirt the water’s shoreline. There’s also plenty to do when the temperature drops and winter starts sneaking in.

Sisters is known as one of the premier mountain biking regions in the state; more than a million acres of the Deschutes Nation Forest is laced with trails and singletrack. Test your mettle on the 25-mile Peterson Ridge Trail system––it’s regarded as one of the best mountain bike trails in North America––or indulge in a more leisurely ride through Sisters; you’ll still be able to savor spectacular mountain views within city limits.

Downtown Sisters is ripe with art and culture. Comprised of galleries, boutiques, cafes, craft stores, and mom-and-pop shops, the heart of town has something for everyone to enjoy. For music lovers, the Sisters Folk Festival is the go-to event of the season. This three-day music festival features roots music from blues to bluegrass, and it’s one of the most well-respected music events in the Pacific Northwest. The festival, home to 10 stages spread throughout town, hosts world-class musicians alongside up-and-coming talents. Enjoy the diverse musical palette, plentiful food and drink, and jam sessions in the sunshine at this distinctive event. This year’s Sisters Folk Festival is September 9-11.


For a traditional spa experience, Shibui Spa is a tranquil retreat that offers therapeutic and rejuvenating treatments amid trickling waterfalls and a Japanese-inspired atmosphere. Spa services include massage, Ayurveda treatments, facials, body wraps, waxing, and nail treatments. Guests can also luxuriate in Shibui’s hot thermal soaking tub and Swedish sauna, and enjoy a catered lunch in the relaxation room or on the garden patio.

Shibui Spa is located on the campus of FivePine Lodge, making this the perfect place to book your stay while visiting Sisters. FivePine Lodge is a rustic-chic retreat with modern amenities, and is rated one of the top hotels in Oregon. Guest accommodations include luxurious cabins and suites that feature a fireplace, private patio, coffee and wine bar, and oversized waterfall soaking tubs. Surrounded by breathtaking forest views, FivePine offers the personal touch of a bed and breakfast with the amenities of a resort. And when you feel like strolling into town, simply follow the paved walking trail that leads you right to the heart of downtown Sisters.

For an exceptional high desert meal with spectacular views of the Cascades, head to the Lakeside Bistro located at Black Butte Ranch. Whether you dine outside next to a fire pit or inside next to the fireplace, enjoy their farm-to-table menu of Northwest cuisine featuring locally grown herbs and vegetables, locally raised certified Angus beef, and regional seafood. The menu changes often, ensuring a unique culinary experience each time you visit.

If dessert and drinks are in order, The Open Door, located in downtown Sisters, is the place to go. Relax in their cozy outdoor courtyard and enjoy the small-town atmosphere as you sip a cocktail or a glass of their exquisite wine. The wine menu changes frequently, providing a varied and educational experience for patrons. Pair a glass of vino with their flourless chocolate cake, coconut custard pie, or spiked berries and mascarpone—your taste buds will rejoice!

This fall, take a trip back in time to the Old West, where outdoor adventure, art and culture, and simple pleasures abound. Whether you revel in scenic mountain vistas or a simple stroll down Main Street, you’ll find your great escape in Sisters.

FivePine Lodge

1021 E Desperado Trail, Sisters


Lakeside Bistro

12934 Hawks Beard, Black Butte Ranch


The Open Door

303 W Hood St., Sisters


Shibui Spa

720 S Buckaroo Trail, Sisters


Sisters Folk Festival

204 W Adams Ave., Ste. 204, Sisters