Camp Polk was established as a military post in 1865 in response to the Paiute Indian wars that were raging throughout eastern Oregon during the 1860s and 70s. Named after the Oregon county from which the camp’s commanding officer hailed, it consisted of a group of cabins along the west bank of Squaw Creek, about three miles northeast of Sisters. The troops spent the winter of 1865-66 there. After discovering that there was no Indian problem they left. Around 1870, the area was homesteaded by Samuel Hindeman who also ran the post office. The post office at Camp Polk was moved to the present site of Sisters in 1888, and the name was changed to Sisters after the Three Sisters mountains that dominate its western skyline.
Whychus Creek runs through the southern half of town.
The main highways through downtown, U.S. Route 20 and Oregon Route 126 also have a lot of pedestrian traffic, and are known for their many specialty stores and galleries. West of town the highways share a route over Santiam Pass. East of town they split with Oregon Route 126 heading east to Redmond and with US 20 turning south east on its way to Bend Sisters is also the eastern terminus of Oregon Route 242 which runs west over the McKenzie Pass a summertime only scenic route over the Cascades.
There were 397 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,000, and the median income for a family was $43,977. Males had a median income of $35,563 versus $21,771 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,847. About 7.4% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.
Sisters is also home to Sisters Christian Academy, a non-denominational Christian school.
The Sisters area is also home to several mountain biking trails, including the Peterson Ridge and Suttle Lake trails.
Hoodoo ski resort and many snow parks are nearby.