Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Camping at Lake Paulina
We are camping at Lake Paulina National Forest campground in the caldera of the Newberry Volcano that is in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument just east of Bend Oregon. Newberry Volcano is the largest (by mass and area) Volcano in the Cascade mountain range that goes from southern Canada down through northern California. The mountain with it’s lava flows is roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island. We are staying at the campground for 9 days.
We did not know if there was water available for Lola, however once we called up to the Ranger Station, we were told that there was potable water next to the dump station. Once we got to our campground, the water spigot that was near our campsite indeed did have a threaded spigot, however several of the other water spigots are not threaded. The campground does offer a few gray water disposal sites and a bathroom with flush toilets and sinks with running water.
Volcanic Monument Area
There is an observation site at the top of Paulina Peak – the highest point of the Newberry Volcano. On a clear day the views are magnificent, however it was smoky from the forest fires in southern Oregon and northern California. Nice day for a drive though, and we can see the two lakes in the caldera – Lake Paulina and East lake.
Paulina Peak Pictures
Hiking around Newberry Caldera
Paulina Creek Falls
The hike to Paulina Falls is an easy walk. There is a path on each side of Paulina Creek to the falls so we got pictures from both sides. In August there are lots of wildflowers to enjoy as well.
Paulina Creek Falls Pictures
Big Obsidian Flow and East Lake
We drove through East Lake and notice that there are more nice campsites even though many are smaller than the Lake Paulina sites.
The big draw for the drive is a hike through the Big Obsidian Flow. There is an interpretive trail going through the Big Obsidian Flow in the Newberry Volcano caldera. The Big Obsidian Flow is the most recent geologic formation in the Newberry Volcano created 1,300 years ago, and like the name suggests… it is BIG! I always think of obsidian chunks that I can hold in my hand. This is a whole mountain of obsidian (pardon the pun).
One of the most interesting items is that obsidian was used for the first open heart surgeries done because obsidian blades are a lot sharper than any knife edge possible. Obsidian blades are sharpened to a width of one molecule. Now, that’s surprising!
Big Obsidian Flow Pictures
Little Crater Hike
There are two lakes in the Newberry Volcano caldera. Lake Paulina where we are camping, and East Lake. At one time there was one lake in the caldera then a fissure opened up and lava separated the two lakes. About 3,500 years ago another eruption created an obsidian flow by East Lake. The “Little Crater” is one of the craters between the two lakes and a nice hike. We didn’t take the dogs because it’s somewhat steep in sections and some places that just dropped off into a narrow valley.
It is a very nice day with great views of the lake and the obsidian flow, even though you could tell the smoke from the fires was starting to come back into the area.
Little Crater Pictures
Hike around Lake Paulina
The 8 mile hike around Lake Paulina is a pretty easy hike. There is some elevation change but mostly it is rated a moderate hike because of the length. Another hazy day for our walk around the lake, but the water is crystal clear and we spotted many aquatic birds, moss and flowers. We could just make out Paulina Peak when we are on the far side of the lake. We will return another time when there are no forest fires.
Lake Paulina Pictures
Deschutes National Forest Drive
Using narrow National Forest Service roads we drove a loop from East Lake south then west around Paulina Peak and then north up to the entrance that is west of Paulina Lake Campground. During the whole drive we spotted one tent in a dispersed camping area but no other persons! In many places the road is very slow going, and our Honda Pilot just had enough clearance to drive the little used roads. We stopped several times to explore ancient fissures and old logging roads. The dogs had a blast getting off leash.
Deschutes National Forest Drive Pictures
Newberry Volcanic National Monument Video
This wraps up Part One of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We drive down to Bend Sunriver Thousand Trails to set up a new base camp to explore the rest of the monument in Part 2.
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