Newberry National Volcanic Monument
We were at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This outstanding playground in central Oregon stretches from high in Newberry Crater to the Deschutes River corridor and welcomes discovery by foot, horse, mountain bike, car and boat. The monument spreads across some 87 square miles and joins together pine forests, lava plains, caves, cinder cones, obsidian flows, a waterfall and twin caldera lakes, which rival famous Crater Lake to the south in azure-clarity and origin.
The attractions are all easily accessed along and just off U.S. 97, between the towns of Bend (a year-round recreation center) and smaller La Pine. Monument visitors can select their own pace and level of physical exertion and adventure. The region boasts a network of more than a 100 miles of trail, including a long-distance route encircling the crater rim and several short, all-ability nature walks. Drive-to vistas are also in good supply.
Campers will find lake, forest and creek side sites, with convenient full-service campgrounds just outside the park. Lounging in the shadow of a pine within earshot of the lake’s lapping has its own appeal. Add a cool drink and good book and you just might take root.
For many, Newberry National Volcanic Monument (managed by the U.S. Forest Service)
remains unknown. It was back in 1990 that this unsung treasure quietly crossed the threshold from local attraction to one of national standing. Prior to receiving this federal protection, nature provided its safeguard — a rugged armor of crusted lava. Monument visitors find a wild, mostly natural beauty, but one where the recreation potential has been coaxed to near perfection.
Despite its relative present-day anonymity, this area was not unknown to the earliest peoples. Archaeological excavations have documented a nearly continuous Native American presence here, dating back 10,000 years. As the eruptions of Mount Mazama (which created Crater Lake) and Newberry Volcano altered the landscape, the area’s inhabitants adapted to their changing home. With obsidian for tools and trade, trout-filled lakes and streams and game in the forest, this land of fiery origin had much to offer then, and now.
For more on the center of activity in Newberry Country, click on the following link:
Miles of trails run through Newberry National Volcanic Monument, offering visitors year round opportunities for hiking and exploring.
Areas for Backpacking at Newberry National Volcanic Monument – Deschutes NF
Hiking Around Newberry Crater
As the sun melted into the western horizon its burning intensity degraded into a warm, pink glow and calming blue. The crisp evening air brought on the first shudder — more in contrast to the day’s heat than its own cool breath. A fantastical landscape of volcanic peaks and pillars, cinder cones and buttes, lava flows and lakes spread out before us. This land of lava was created by the eruption of Newberry Volcano nearly 6000 years ago.
The drive to the top of Paulina Peak, the highest point on Newberry’s crater rim, had measured up to our expectations. It was even worth the white-knuckle rounding of each skyward bend, where we offered up prayers that no one else had chosen that particular moment to descend the peak. Although our tendency was to linger, we knew we had to begin our descent before blackness settled in. A starry night and our warm camp waited.
Hiking Newberry Trails – The Peter Skene Ogden
The following provides a link to the blog of Jason & Katie Loomis regarding their adventure hiking Newberry trails. Loomis Adventures chronicles the outdoor adventures of Jason and Katie Loomis, native Oregonians. They embark on many trips, including: backpacking, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, mountaineering, snow camping, skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
On Wednesday Jason and I planned another longer hike from our base camp at LaPine State Park, this time to Paulina Lake via the Peter Skene Ogden Tail #3956 in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The trail starts at Ogden Group Camp off Paulina Lake Road/Road 21, just North of the city of LaPine, Oregon. Having hiked this trail from Ogden Group Camp to McKay Crossing campground many times, we decided to start Wednesday’s journey at our usual end point. This cuts off the first 2.75 miles of the hike, but makes for a 5.6 mile (one way) hike which gains just over 1500’ elevation from McKay Crossing to Paulina Lake. Lots of people mountain bike or horseback ride this trail in its entirety, as it is a shared-use trail (though mountain bikers are only allowed uphill on the trail and must return from Paulina Lake via Forest Service roads).
To continue the adventure, click on the following link:
For our favorite day hikes around Newberry Country, check out our brochures: