The Broken Top Trail is often considered the best kept secret in Bend, Oregon for good reason.
My husband and I were hired to create a travel video for Visit Bend (not released yet) and spent our summer hiking almost every trail in Bend. The verdict? This one takes the cake.
Read on to learn why Broken Top Trail is our favorite hike in Bend (with tons of photos)!
Broken Top Hike
- 6 miles, out and back
- 1,400′ elevation gain
- Highly trafficked trail
- Difficulty: Moderate/difficult
- Hiking to No Name Lake via Broken Top Trial requires a high clearance vehicle with 4WD required
Broken Top Trail Hiking Tips
Practice Leave No Trace
- If you’re unfamiliar with Leave No Trace, it’s a measure to be a good steward of the land. You can read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
- Hikers must complete wilderness permits at the trailhead. Wilderness permits are free and help track usage trend.
- Permits are essential during search and rescue efforts.
You + Sunscreen = Best Friends (Forever)
- What am I, your mother? High elevation, folks – use sunscreen and apply frequently.
- I swear by this sunscreen, I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk. You’ll never catch me without it!
Wear hiking boots with good traction
- Even though the trails are well maintained, exposed roots are common. It’s easy to trip in the woods, so set yourself up for success by wearing proper shoes.
- These are my hiking boots, and I’d sleep in them if I could.
Stick to the main trail
- There are a lot of social trails (trails created by hikers going off the main trail) which often damage sensitive areas. Stick to the clearly marked trail to preserve delicate flora and wildlife.
Pack it in, pack it out
- If you bring something with you, take it out. We encourage you to go a step further and pick up trash you see along the way. Let’s keep the wild beautiful.
- Bend is popular place for good reason, safe to say you can expect crowds.
- Start your hike as early as possible. The trail gets crowded quickly and the parking lot fills up in no time. I suggest arriving before 8am, earlier if possible
Pups on trails
- Pups are allowed on the Broken Top Trail, but must be kept on leash.
Check to see if a trail is open before heading out
- Trust me, I know this sounds like a no brainer, but it’s easy to forget to do this! Nature is wild, things happen.
- Call the Forest Service for real-time updates before heading out.
- For wildflowers, hiking late-July through mid-August is your best bet. We hiked the trail on August 3rd and were pleasantly surprised by the blooms.
When is the trail accessible?
- Access to the Broken Top Trailhead is open between July and October. The gate to the 4WD road is locked all other months.
- If the gate is locked, you can still hike to No Name Lake via the Todd Ridge Trail, more info below.
- Snow drifts are common at the higher elevation, regardless of the season, so prepare by bringing proper shoes.
Can I camp at No Name Lake?
- Campers and hikers were not adhering to Leave No Trace, therefore, camping is not allowed within 1/4 mile of No Name Lake.
Getting to the Broken Top Crater Trailhead
Broken Top Mountain lies 30 miles west of Bend and getting to the trailhead requires a high clearance vehicle with 4WD.
From first-hand experience, the forest road leading up to the trailhead is grueling. We watched several cars turn around because of the road conditions (read: potholes).
To get to the trailhead, drive past Todd Lake parking lot and continue down Forest Road 370. Road 370 is gated until mid-summer due to snow.
Again, if the gate is locked, you can still hike to No Name Lake via the Todd Ridge Trail, more info below.
Continue down Forest Road 370 for 3 pothole-filled miles and then turn onto Forest Road 380 for half a mile. After half a mile on Road 380, you will reach Broken Top Trailhead. Parking at the trailhead is limited and a pit toilet is provided.
If the signs below don’t deter you from taking this road, I don’t know what will. There’s probably no hope for an adventure seeker like you.
Also, call us. You’re our type.
Todd Ridge Trail to No Name Lake
If the gate to Broken Top Trailhead is locked for the season, you can still hike to No Name Lake via Todd Ridge Trail.
- Todd Ridge Trail is 15.6 miles out and back with 2,880 feet of elevation gain.
- The trailhead starts at the Todd Lake parking lot (very limited parking, you’ll want to come early).
- Pay to park or display the Northwest Forest Pass. Several cars were cited for non-payment during our visit.
Broken Top Trail Hike
The Broken Top hike is 6 miles out and back with 1,400 feet of elevation gain. As you can see, this trail is much shorter than The Todd Ridge Trail and gets you to the same exact spot.
But don’t let the shorter distance fool you – the 1,400 feet of elevation makes this hike a hearty challenge!
Starting the Broken Top Trail
Park your car, display your pass and complete the mandatory wilderness permit before starting your hike.
As you start hiking, you’ll be welcomed by enticing views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top Mountain guiding the way. Follow the signs that lead towards No Name Lake.
About .8 miles into the hike you will reach a fork in the road. The left trail connects to the Green Lakes trail and the right trail is unnamed — go right (isn’t this how all good stories start?).
You’ll soon notice a peaceful creek. After you pass it, you’ll be greeted by a hill straight ahead. Soak in the views before ascending uphill – it’s quite a trek!
As you continue uphill, you will continue to be rewarded with striking views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top Crater. But mind your feet because the terrain on this part of the trail is full of loose rock and packed dirt.
Good to know: The demanding uphill portions of the hike are broken up by random flat parts. Take advantage of those areas. Hiking is a marathon, not a sprint.
The uphill portion seems to go on for a while, but fret not! When you start noticing snow patches on the ground you are getting close. Remember, you’re about to summit a mountain – this isn’t a cake walk!
Tip: Try to hike the trail when the spring flowers are blooming because they are a great distraction from the challenging parts – ha.
Getting to No Name Lake requires a final push up a steep, albeit short, hill.
This is when things start to get exciting because you’re about to see No Name Lake!
Reaching the lake is almost euphoric because it is so beautiful. At this point, I would encourage you to slow down and enjoy the scenery.
Because you earned it!
Rest your legs and allow yourself to take it easy. This is a great spot for lunch and/or snacks.
After you’re done soaking in the breathtaking views, you have two options:
- Return to your car, or
- Hike 0.7 miles to a jaw-dropping viewpoint of the Cascades
Can you guess what I recommend? 😉
To get to the panoramic viewpoint, follow the natural trail around the edge of the lake up a steep little hill. The view of the Cascade Range from this vantage cannot be missed! Seriously!
This is where you will see Broken Top Crater, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. We even saw Mt. Hood!
No Name Lake seems like the place most people choose to turn around, but we suggest hiking an extra 0.7 miles to the panoramic viewpoint. You’ll see the Cascade Range on full display!
On our way back down the trail, we ran into two campers that asked us if all the people on the trail hiked 15 miles to reach No Name Lake. I mentioned we hiked via Broken Top Trail and they looked surprised.
Turns out they weren’t even aware there was a shorter route. The perks of befriending locals, I tell ya!
Broken Top Trail to No Name Lake is my favorite hike in Bend. If you’re in the Bend area, this is a hike you cannot miss.
I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to hiking Broken Top Trail to No Name Lake. It’s a pleasure to share my experience with you!
Tip: If you plan to spend an entire weekend in Bend, check out this handy Weekend Guide to Bend. I cover everything you need to know, like where to eat, sleep and play!
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Until next time,
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