South of Bend and Sunriver, geologic wonders abound. The area’s largest town, La Pine, is a sparsely populated community cloaked in pines.
The Newberry Crater in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a must-see natural wonder. The obsidian flows, vents, pumice cones, and hidden pockets of magma continue to fascinate geologists and adventurers. When this shield volcano’s massive dome first collapsed around 500,000 years ago, what remained was the spectacular caldera we see today.
From atop Paulina Peak (7,985 feet), you can witness thousands of acres of volcanic landscape with beautiful lakes (Paulina and East) and large lava fields, such as the Big Obsidian Flow.
SAMPLE WINTER ITINERARY:
Newberry Country’s rural feel is an ideal place to explore winter adventures.
Because this area of Central Oregon is at a higher elevation than Bend, there is traditionally more snow here — be prepared for some Forest Service roads and access within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument to be closed, including the monument’s visitor center.
Still, the picturesque vistas, waterfalls and other natural wonders are only more beautiful when dusted in snow.
Plan to start your visit in La Pine, the small no-frills city at the center of Newberry Country. You can find food, gas and other necessities here before you head out into the outdoors.
Two sno-parks in the monument will serve as home bases for your winter adventures. 6 Mile and 10 Mile sno-parks are in the Newberry Caldera, and are popular locations for both motorized and non-motorized winter recreation. You can access extensive snowmobiling trails (more than 100 miles’ worth, in fact) here, and the trails are maintained by the La Pine Lodgepole Dodgers Snowmobile Club. There are also trails for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.
While East Lake Resort closes in the winter, Paulina Lake Lodge opens for the winter, usually between mid-December and mid-March, and we’re all luckier for it. The road shuts down at 10 Mile Sno-Park, about 3 miles from the lodge, but the resort offers sno-cat shuttles on Friday and Saturday nights in the winter. The lodge was built in 1929 and there are a variety of cabins on site that are a great place to relax, or to use as a jumping-off point for skiing and exploring.
The restaurant at the lodge is a great place to warm up with chili and hot cocoa, or sit down for a full dinner — Saturdays feature prime rib dinners (dinner reservations are required).
Hike out to Paulina Creek Falls, or head to the hot springs at Paulina Lake — five small pools on the sandy beach of the lake accessible either by boat or by hiking via several trails.