At Home in Sisters | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

At Home in Sisters

Everything you could want in a small Oregon mountain town

Driving through Sisters, visitors will be transported back to a town with an Old-West theme throughout. Situated just Northwest of Bend, Sisters offers an unparalleled natural beauty and an abundance of recreation opportunities. The city's name is derived from the proximity to the Three Sisters mountains that blanket the backdrop and offer awe-inspiring views at every turn.

The area was originally inhabited and traveled through by indigenous people, including Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute peoples, on trails going toward Warm Springs and over the Santiam and McKenzie mountain passes. Camp Polk was a military camp situated along Whychus Creek, in operation from fall of 1865 to spring of 1866. Mainly due to the location on the McKenzie and Santiam roads, Sisters grew in population and was formally established in 1901, becoming incorporated in 1946.

At Home in Sisters
Lessa Clayton / Wikimeda Commons

The original post office was named "Three Sisters," later shortened to "Sisters" by postal authorities. Sisters initially began to grow and became known as a lumber town with multiple sawmills that moved into the area; however, lumber production slowed and in 1963 the last mill in Sisters closed. Consequently, many residents moved away, but since the early 1990s, when around 500 people lived in Sisters, there has been a slow and steady increase in population. Currently, with around 2,800 residents, it's one of the smallest communities in Central Oregon, sitting close to 3,200 feet in elevation and tucked in close to the magnificent Cascade mountain range. 

Miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails begin within town and extend endlessly through the forests and mountains. Surrounded by National Forest lands, Sisters is the perfect jump-off point to countless outdoor recreational opportunities such as camping, backpacking, fishing and golfing. People love the mom-and-pop feel while skiing and snowboarding at Hoodoo Ski Area, which is only 22 miles away. "Sisters Country" has quite a few options for those looking to get wet in nearby waterways, too: Kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing and rafting can all be done in nearby rivers, streams and lakes. 

There are ample dining and shopping options, mostly catering to tourists, but also serving locals' needs well. Schools in Sisters rank very highly and the community is tight-knit and comes together for celebrations often.

Likewise, the Sisters real estate market is thriving. In June the median sales price climbed to $610,000, with 21 total home sales and housing inventory remaining low at just under a month's supply. Housing options range from townhomes and condos to modest single-family homes to higher-end homes and one of a kind expansive, sprawling ranches and horse properties. At the time of this writing there were 22 homes out of 45 listed for over $1 million— about 50% of the available homes, mostly because there is more space and larger properties. The community is small but locals who live there love it and it's a very desirable place to call home.

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