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Tam McArthur Rim Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Tam McArthur Rim above Three Creek Lake (Cheryl Hill)
Cascade view from above Three Creeks Lake (greglief)
Mount Bachelor from along the trail (greglief)
Tam McArthur Rim and North Sister (greglief)
Three Sisters from Tam McArthur Rim (greglief)
Broken Top from the rim (cfm)
  • Start point: Tam McArthur Rim TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Tam McArthur Rim
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 1,200 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: August-October
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Sometimes


Hike Description

Tam McArthur Rim towers above Three Creek Lake at the edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness. These high cliffs are named after Lewis "Tam" McArthur who served as secretary of the Oregon Geographic Board from 1916-1949. (You may also know him as the author of the book, Oregon Geographic Names.) This hike starts high (6,550') and climbs higher (8,000') so it's usually August before the snow melts and you can get to the trailhead and successfully complete this hike.

The trail starts climbing right away, steeply at first. You will be able to look down on Three Creek Lake and beyond as you climb higher. There is a level section in the middle, but then it climbs again. At the 0.7 mile mark you will enter the Three Sisters Wilderness. After 2.5 miles, you'll be up on the plateau of Tam McArthur Rim. Look for trails to your right which will take you to viewpoints and faint clifftop trails. From up here you'll be able to see many prominent peaks in the Cascades as well as Little Three Creek Lake and Three Creek Lake below you.

This is not a good rainy day hike. You will not get to see the views you worked so hard for, and you may get quite a pummeling from the wind and rain on the open sections of trail.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades - by William L. Sullivan

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.