One of the great things about moving to Bend is that I don’t feel like I have to cram all the things on my To-Do list into a short period of time. There are so many places to explore, and I know now that I’ll get to them in time and not have to cram them into a week long vacation visit. That said, there is one hike that was at the very top of my To-Do list and I did not intend to let this summer go by without doing it. This hike is to an unnamed lake in the crater to the east of Broken Top Mountain, one of the most recognizable peaks towering over Bend.

This unnamed lake is frequently and appropriately referred to as “No Name Lake” in guidebooks and other internet posts, so I’ll use it here. The lake is filled with glacial runoff that still contains snow fields late into summer. The glacial runoff also contributes to its otherworldly turquoise color. Some brave souls in our group got in the water for a very brief moment, but don’t expect to lounge around on floaties in this icy lake!

I went up with a group on Saturday and we carpooled from the Todd Lake Trailhead. The biggest challenge of this hike is getting to the Broken Top trailhead. From Cascade Lakes highway to Todd Lake, the road is gravel but fairly well maintained. However, the remaining ~five mile drive in is rough and unmaintained, requiring a high clearance vehicle. The road is blocked with snow until late in the summer, and even then, an unknown number of downed trees will likely be waiting for some kind soul to come along and clear them out.

Despite the rough road, we found a full trailhead and had to park at a lower turnout. Most people in Bend have vehicles capable of the drive!

From this trailhead the hike to No Name Lake is pretty easy. It’s approximately 2.25 miles and 1200 ft of gain. Past the lake, hike an additional 0.4 miles and 200 ft of gain to a ridge for an incredible view from the Three Sisters all the way up to Mt Hood and Mt Adams to the north.



In and Out dayhike on trail.


5.3 miles round trip from the closest trailhead. Longer from alternate trailheads.

Elevation Gain:

+/- 1400 ft

Trailhead and Permit Notes:

You should fill out a trailhead permit (free) whenever entering Three Sisters wilderness, required for both day hiking and backpacking. A Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass is required to park. The road to the Broken Top Crater trailhead is rough and impassible to many vehicles. We carpooled in high clearance 4WD vehicles from Todd Lake. This is a very popular trail and will be busy on summer days, so an early start is recommended.

Useful Guides and Gear:

Map and GPX Track

Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Mountain sports addict. Dog Mom. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +


Petesthousandpeaks · August 8, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Beautiful! Another hike of for my bucket list!

David Gray · August 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm

The amount of hikes that I want to go on is starting to become absurdly large and this doenst help! But in all serious it looks amazing, hopefully I can go one day.

gambolin man · September 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Hi Rebecca! BEND! I will be moving to Bend soon, once I retire from my UC job….one of these days soon! Nice to see you’re continuing to chronicle your adventures in excellent fashion!

gambolin man · September 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Hi Calipidder! BEND! I will be moving to Bend soon, once I retire from my UC job….one of these days soon! Nice to see you’re continuing to chronicle your adventures in excellent fashion!

mike · March 31, 2017 at 11:31 am

Awesome! How long of a hike is it to nonamelake if you were to drive to the closest trailhead? Also, will there be water in that lake in August?

    mike · March 31, 2017 at 11:32 am

    How long in terms of hours

    Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd · April 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    It only took about 1.5 hours to hike to the lake from the trailhead where we started (4WD required), and that was with some stops to enjoy the views and wildflowers. It’s less than 3 miles. There should be water in it year round.

PL · May 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Which do you think is better for your hiking experience, as well as preserving that experience and the environment for future hikers: MORE people? or LESS people on this trail? Think about that for a minute, and then please ask yourself what is being accomplished by publicly advertising these locations.

jinx98521 · August 13, 2019 at 10:57 am

How rough was the road leading to the trailhead? I have an older honda CR-V (year 2000, maybe?). It has all wheel drive, but I’ve never put it to the test. Was the road, like, REALLY rough? I’m nervous. Haha.

    Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd · August 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

    When I did it clearance was the biggest obstacle – big rocks and ruts. I wouldn’t go in a stock car anymore, other than maybe a pickup or something like a 4 runner. I’ve heard it’s gotten worse in recent years. You can also do the (longer) hike from Todd Lake which doesn’t require the amount of clearance.

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