Newberry Caldera

Paulina Peak from Paulina Lake's Trail

  • Easy (Paulina Falls viewpoints)
  • 1.6 miles round trip
  • 300 feet elevation gain
  • Open late June to late October

  • Easy (Big Obsidian Trail)
  • 0.8-mile loop
  • 450 feet elevation gain

  • Moderate (around Paulina Lake)
  • 7.5-mile loop
  • 300 feet elevation gain

The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is home to Oregon’s most massive volcano. Countless thin basalt lava flows have built up its 25-mile-wide shield-shaped bulk over the past half million years. Like many aging volcanoes, Mt. Newberry’s eruptions gradually contained more silica, making the lava thicker, glassier, and more explosive. The entire mountaintop has collapsed in Crater Lake fashion at least twice, leaving a gaping, 6-mile-wide caldera with two large lakes and a lava flow of black obsidian glass.

Start your visit to this geologic marvel with a short walk to Paulina Creek Falls, where the caldera’s outlet creek pours over a pair of side-by-side 60-foot waterfalls. Then drive into the caldera itself for an easy 0.8-mile loop across the Big Obsidian Flow. Finish up by hiking at least a portion of the spectacular 7.5-mile loop trail around Paulina Lake.

Drive south of Bend …

For the hike across an obsidian lava flow, get back in your car, continue …

Perhaps the most beautiful trail in the National Monument, however, is the 7.5-mile loop around Paulina Lake. Drive …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.

Paulina Lake and Warm Springs Beach

Paulina Falls in winter