The Three Sisters appear as the “Three Sisters” on Preston’s map of Oregon of 1856. The name was probably originally applied by members of the Methodist Mission in Salem in the early 1840’s, and the individual peaks were given the names “Mount Faith”, “Mount Hope”, and “Mount Charity”, beginning from the north.
Three Sisters is one of three potentially active volcanic centers that lie close to rapidly growing communities and resort areas in Central Oregon. Two types of volcanoes exist in the Three Sisters region and each poses distinct hazards to people and property. South Sister, Middle Sister, and Broken Top, major composite volcanoes clustered near the center of the region, have erupted repeatedly over tens of thousands of years and may erupt explosively in the future. In contrast, mafic volcanoes, which range from to large shield volcanoes like North Sister and Belknap Crater, are typically short-lived (weeks to centuries) and erupt less explosively than do composite volcanoes. Hundreds of mafic volcanoes scattered through the Three Sisters region are part of a much longer zone along the High Cascades of Oregon in which birth of new mafic volcanoes is possible.