When plunging into a multi-day adventure in Central Oregon, the number of choices can be well, overwhelming. There is just so much to do in this four-season playground that a traveler can be forgiven for suffering from a little indecision.
One strategy is to break down the area by geography, clustering activities together that are within striking distance of a home base, be it a hotel, cabin or RV parking spot.
In this case, we’re building the perfect day around “Newberry Country” – southern Deschutes County and the city of La Pine with a home base at East Lake Resort inside the Newberry caldera.
If you’re looking for a little adventure there is nothing like making a dormant shield volcano that once showered the entire region in ash and magma your base of operations. If you’re worried about natural disasters, you’ve seen too many movies. The volcano has been inactive for literally thousands of years. The only thing erupting these days is the surface of the water during the evening mayfly hatch when trout gorge themselves on emerging insects and anglers delight.
THE PERFECT DAY IN NEWBERRY COUNTRY
Newberry National Volcanic Monument: After entering the park, look for the visitor’s center on the right side of the road as you approach Paulina Lake. Immerse yourself in a quick history of the area’s fascinating geology some 75,000 years in the making.
Hiking through The Big Obsidian Flow is something you’ll remember forever. The 1300-year-old lava flow is the youngest in Oregon.
If you’re ready for lunch, the Paulina Lake resort has a cozy cafe and lounge where you can grab a pint of ale and a signature prime rib sandwich.
This is also the place to rent a boat, which are available by the hour or day. Rates are reasonable and life jackets are provided.
If fishing is your passion, cast off from the beach.
On the north shore of Paulina Lake a series of hot springs that well up along a natural beach are waiting for you!
Make sure you’ve packed a shovel, because you’ll likely need to dig out your soaking pool as they tend to fill in rather quickly. After you’ve enjoyed the hot springs, head back to your lodging at Paulina Lake Lodge, East Lake Resort or your camp spot. There’s no bad way to end the day when you’re surrounded with the natural wonders in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Top State Parks to Visit in Central Oregon
A trip to Central Oregon is usually one with ample time spent in the great outdoors. From the expansive high desert landscape to the Deschutes National Forest and all the rivers, lakes and sometimes volcanos in between, Central Oregon is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. What better way to explore the region than to take a tour of the local state parks? To get started, check out these six state parks to get an idea of what Central Oregon is all about.
The Ultimate La Pine Getaway
Central Oregon is all about balance. Small towns, big recreation. Quaint corners, cascading views. Where endless serenity exists right outside your back door coupled with humble communities that are tough to beat. Take La Pine, for instance. Rural, friendly, relaxed, and charming with a side of soaring mountains, the sparsely populated La Pine, Oregon is an unlikely getaway that leads with boundless forests and top-tier recreation.
Tour the Central Oregon Mural Trail
Take a scenic tour around Central Oregon, and among the lush forests, arid high desert landscapes and bright blue skies, you’ll start to notice stunning murals dotting the region. The murals, each with distinct symbols unique to the town, reflect the spirit of Central Oregon in animated colors and design. Artists Katie Daisy and Karen Eland began the “Greetings From…” series with inspiration from vintage postcards. Now, nearly every town in Central Oregon hosts a large hand painted mural with stunning details specifically designed for that town. Follow the Central Oregon Mural Trail and discover hidden treasures in each high desert town along the way.
The Scenic Waterfalls in Central Oregon
Is there anything more satisfying—anything more awe-inspiring—than gazing upon a thundering waterfall, its raging waters tumbling over ancient rock walls? Does it get any better than seeing a waterfall reach full boil in the midst of an otherwise quiet river as it crashes through a rock-lined canyon?
Newberry Crater: Ancient Attraction is an Activity Hub
It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago, the volcanic features that make up Newberry National Volcanic Monument weren’t protected. If it wasn’t for a group of concerned Central Oregonians, the monument wouldn’t exist. “In the late 80s, at the time, the collaborative process we see today for land-use planning just wasn’t as common.
Central Oregon Golf: Best Par 3s
Play a good golf course and chances are that when you’re back at the 19th hole, you’re talking about the Par 3s. The short one you made double on. The bear where you snaked in a 20-footer for your only birdie all month. They’re the “short” holes that can make or break a round. Some of the signature holes on the Central Oregon Golf Trail are Par 3s. Here’s a look at some of the best.
Central Oregon Mountain Bike Trail Guide
The Central Oregon mountain bike scene is 300 miles of diverse singletrack through high alpine forests and sagebrush dotted deserts from Madras to La Pine, Sisters to Prineville. Bulletin newspaper reporter Mark Morical has ridden just about every one of the trails you’ll find on any mountain bike trail map – and he’s written about his experience.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
When the snow flies, Central Oregon shines. All you have to do is choose your adventure. Mt. Bachelor - The model of a complete snowsports resort, Mt. Bachelor offers 360-degree lift-served groomed skiing and riding from its volcanic summit.
Central Oregon Hiking Trails
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.