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. So, the success of that effort locally really helped it move through Washington quite quickly to become a National Monument,” said Scott McBride, the monument manager.
Now, more than 54,000-acres are protected. Including one of the most visible and popular attractions — Lava Butte.
“There’s the combination on the top of Lava Butte of being near an active lookout, hiking a short ¼ mile trail and getting views to the high Cascades or Newberry Volcano,” said McBride.
The heart of the monument is Newberry Volcano. In the caldera there’s two lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake. There’s endless opportunities for fun on the water, camping, hiking and more.
“You can bring a horse, a sailboat, a fishing boat, a bike, and be perfectly happy to with finding a place to recreate in the mode that you want to in this National Monument as well,” said McBride.
If you’re a history buff, make sure to hike in the Big Obsidian flow. Believe it or not, at 1,300 years old, it’s the youngest lava flow in Oregon and it was used to test astronaut suits!
“The belief was that testing the mobility of the suit on the Obsidian Flow would be mimic those conditions that the moon would present with those same suits,” said McBride. “Whether that played out that way I don’t know but the story is, a rock from Newberry was brought and left on the moon.”
And another part of the monument, might make you feel like you’re on another planet.
“Lava River Cave is approximately a mile long underground world that’s about just a mile and a half from the visitor center,” said McBride. “It’s a great visit on a hot day especially, it stays about 42 degrees in the cave.”
Paulina Falls is a stunner no matter what the weather is. It’s also incredibly accessible, you can actually hear the roar of the twin falls from the parking lot.
“A lot of visitors will get the short walk looking down on the twin falls plunging about 80 feet over welded volcanic, tough cliff, but if you take that extra ¼ mile walk down below it’s a great perspective,” said McBride.
It’s truly a view even locals will find breathtaking.
“Residents of La Pine, Sunriver and Bend have a chance to rediscover or still discover for the first time that this national treasure is right out your back door,” said McBride.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
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.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
WHEN THE SNOW FLIES, CENTRAL OREGON SHINES. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE.
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.
Camp Abbot’s Important Role During World War II
Sunriver is one of the region’s oldest and most beloved destination resorts. Since the late 1960s, Oregon families have made memories here, riding bikes to the general store, learning to golf on the courses and swimming in the river and the resort’s pools.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Pull Off For a Central Oregon Adventure
The Cascade Lakes Scenic byway is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. But it might be the most recreationally rich road you’ll ever drive too. From Bend southwest to the Highway 58 junction, the Oregon Route 372 cuts through 66 miles unique volcanic formations and geological beauty that offers everything that makes Central Oregon an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Lava Lands Visitor Center a Central Oregon Geologic Gem
In the late 1960s NASA looked for a place to send astronauts who were training for a mission that would change the world. But before the mission could happen, NASA needed a place to mimic what they believed those astronauts would find on the surface of the moon. Because, after all, nobody had been there before so nobody really knew what the surface of the moon was like.
Casual Family Weekend in Sunriver
Imagine this: you’re riding your bike through a rolling meadow, the Cascade mountain range in the background, and the only sound is from the whir of a prop plane taking off against a crisp blue sky. Up ahead, your children pull carrots from their pockets and present them to a gathering of friendly horses in an adjacent pasture.
Adventures Abound Starting at Sunriver Resort
Sunriver is the type of place that takes your breath away no matter what season it is. During the summer you can hop on a horse for your very own wild wild west experience. The team at Sunriver Stables will make you feel comfortable on your ride, even if you’ve never saddled up before. Whether you’re in a tube or a kayak, floating down the Deschutes River is a relaxing activity that’s fun for the whole family.
Elk Lake Resort a Great Winter Getaway – And Getting There is Half the Fun
There’s a couple of ways to look at the annual winter closure of Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: You can see it as cutting off your recreational access beyond the gate until the snow melts in the spring.
Mt. Bachelor is a True Family Ski Experience in Central Oregon
Three-hundred and sixty degree views of snow-covered peaks don’t come easy. Unless you’re in Central Oregon, in that case, they do! Mt. Bachelor is just a 30-minute drive from Bend or Sunriver.