Although shopping may be the number-one recreational activity right in Sisters, the surrounding lands are the town's real main attraction. Any month of the year, you'll find an amazing variety of possible activities within a few miles of town. Northwest of Sisters, in the community of Camp Sherman, is one of the area's most unusual outdoor attractions--the springs that form the headwaters of the Metolius River. Cold, crystal-clear waters bubble up out of the ground and, within only a few hundred yards, produce a full-blown river. Follow signs from the Camp Sherman turnoff on U.S. 20.
Golfing -- With its red-cinder sand traps, Aspen Lakes Golf Course, 16900 Aspen Lakes Dr. (tel. 541/549-4653; www.aspenlakes.com), is the area's most distinctive golf course (greens fees $49-$75). At Black Butte Ranch (tel. 800/399-2322 or 541/595-1500; www.blackbutteranch.com), west of Sisters, you'll find two courses surrounded by ponderosa pines and aspens (greens fees $45-$73). At Eagle Crest, 1522 Cline Falls Rd., Redmond (tel. 866/583-5212; www.eagle-crest.com), east of Sisters, you get a more desertlike experience with junipers and sagebrush surrounding the fairways (greens fees $44-$69 in summer). There are great views at both resorts. Hiking -- West and south of Sisters, several excellent scenic trails lend themselves to both day hikes and overnight trips. Many of these trails lead into the Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, and Three Sisters wilderness areas. Near Camp Sherman, you can hike to the summit of Black Butte for 360-degree views or hike along the spring-fed Metolius River (try starting at the beautiful blue section of river beside the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery). Farther west off U.S. 20, you'll find trails leading up to the base of craggy Three Fingered Jack. South of town, trails head into the Three Sisters Wilderness (the Chambers Lakes area is particularly scenic). The hike up Tam McArthur Rim is another good one if you're looking for spectacular views. Stop by the Sisters Ranger Station, Pine Street and U.S. 20 (tel. 541/549-7700; www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon), at the west end of town, for information and trail maps.
To the east of Sisters outside the town of Terrebonne, several miles of very scenic hiking trails wind through Smith Rock State Park (tel. 800/551-6949 or 541/548-7501; www.oregon.gov/oprd/parks), a park known primarily for its superb rock climbing. The park's 400-foot crags and the meandering Crooked River provide the backdrops for hikes through high desert scrublands. Hiking trails lead through the canyon and up to the top of the rocks. The view of the Cascades framed by Smith Rock is superb. There is a $3 day-use fee here.
Horseback Riding -- If Sisters has put you in a cowboy or cowgirl state of mind, you can saddle up a palomino and go for a ride at Black Butte Stables (tel. 541/595-2061; www.oregoncowboy.com), which has stables at Black Butte Ranch west of Sisters. These stables offer a variety of rides, with an hour ride costing $43.
Mountain Biking -- Sisters makes an excellent base for mountain bikers, who will find dozens of miles of trails of all skill levels within a few miles of town. In fact, one fun, easy ride, the Peterson Ridge Trail, starts on Elm Street only a few blocks south of downtown's many shops. Other fun rides include the Butte Loops Trail around Black Butte and the strenuous Green Ridge Trail. Stop by the Sisters Ranger Station, Pine Street and U.S. 20 (tel. 541/549-7700), at the west end of town, for information and trail maps. You can rent bikes in town at Eurosports, 182 E. Hood Ave. (tel. 541/549-2471; www.eurosports.us), for $20 to $40 per day.
Rock Climbing -- Located east of Terrebonne, Smith Rock State Park is one of central Oregon's many geological wonders. Jagged rock formations tower above the Crooked River here and attract rock climbers from around the world. A couple of shops in the area cater primarily to climbers. If you want to learn how to climb, contact First Ascent Climbing Services (tel. 800/325-5462 or 541/318-7170; www.goclimbing.com), which offers classes ($250 for an all-day private class).