Newberry National Volcanic Monument

National Park in Bend

About 13 miles south of Bend is this impressive area, a relatively recent volcanic region resulting from 400,000 years of volcanic activity. Newberry Caldera was formed by the eruption of what was one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Oregon. Successive flows cover 500 sq miles. As with Crater Lake, the summit of the volcano collapsed after a large eruption, creating a caldera.

To get here from Hwy 97, take Paulina East Lake Rd to Newberry Caldera.

Initially a single body of water, Paulina Lake and East Lake are now separated by a lava flow and a pumice cone. Due to the lakes' great depths and the constant flow of fresh mineral-spring water, stocked trout thrive here. Looming above is 7985ft Paulina Peak.

A short trail halfway between the two lakes leads to the Big Obsidian Flow, an enormous deposit on the south flank of Newberry Crater. The Newberry Crater Rim Loop Trail encircles Paulina Lake and is a good place for hiking and mountain biking.

About 6000 years ago, a wall of molten lava 20ft deep flowed down from Newberry Crater and engulfed a forest of mature trees, resulting in the Lava Cast Forest. There's a mile-long interpretive trail; follow signs or ask at the Lava Lands visitor center.

For spectacular views, drive to the summit of Lava Butte, a perfect cone rising 500ft above the surrounding lava flows; get a permit from the visitor center first. From late May to September, a shuttle ($2) runs from the visitor center to the top every 20 minutes from 10am to 4pm.

Four miles west of the visitor center is Benham Falls, a good picnic spot on the Deschutes River.