One of the most seismically active areas in the country, the Newberry Volcano is located at the southern end of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Newberry Caldera itself is five miles in diameter and contains two crater lakes, hot springs, extensive obsidian fields, and lava formations.
There are over 110 miles of summer trails and 130 miles of winter trails within the caldera and some of them are connected to the Newberry monument. The trails vary in difficulty and can be used for short walking, easy to difficult hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and in winter for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Deschutes River #2.1 to Benham Falls Trail
A short easy 0.5-mile walk to the Benham Falls viewpoint, no elevation gain.
Lava Butte Rim Trail #3918
The 0.25-mile, 150 feet elevation gain, easy loop-trail circles the rim of Lava Butte.
Lava Cast Forest #3960
The 1-mile paved loop running through tree casts, 150 feet elevation gain.
Molten Land Trail #3922
The 1-mile loop with 150 feet elevation gain, paved interpretive National Recreation Trail across basalt lava to a viewing point.
Paulina Falls Trail
A short easy 0.24-mile walk along Paulina Creek to Paulina Falls Day Use Area and a viewpoint of 80-foot Paulina Falls.
A 0.8-mile trail through a mixed conifer forest from the Little Crater Campground to Big Obsidian Flow, 50 feet elevation gain.
Whispering Pines Trail #3930
A 0.3-mile paved trail through a Ponderosa pine forest, no elevation gain.
The Deschutes River Trail to the Benham Falls for hiking and biking. All other easy grading trails are for hiking only, some of them are suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Paulina Lakeshore Loop Trail #3955
The 7.5-mile hike around Paulina Lake offers fantastic views of the lake, Paulina Peak, Big Obsidian Lava Flow, exotic plants, trees, and access to bubbling hot springs.
The trailheads are located at Paulina Lake and Little Crater Campgrounds. For the best view go counter-clockwise.
Big Obsidian Flow Trail #3958.1
Moderate | 1 mile loop | 500 feet elevation gain
Big Obsidian Flow is the largest obsidian lava flow in the United States. In the 1960s, NASA astronauts used the lava flow as a training location. A one-mile loop trail runs from the Paulina Lake Trailhead through the most recent eruption of the Newberry Volcano that happened 1,300 years ago.
While hiking on the trail, you will see obsidian, a natural volcanic rock. For a purpose to protect and preserve Newberry Volcanic Monument, damaging and removing any rocks is illegal. To find out where you can legally collect obsidians, check Lake County Rockhounding Sites.
Little Crater Trail #3953
The 1.8-mile loop trail around the rim of the small crater between Paulina and East Lakes. The trail starts at the furthest end of Little Crater Campground.
The hike offers a spectacular vista of two caldera lakes, Paulina Peak, and Big Obsidian Lava Flow. The trail is accessible from the Lakeshore Loop Trail and opens for hikers only.
Paulina Peak Trail #3951
Difficult | 4.3 miles out and back | 1,400 feet elevation gain
The short 0.25-mile path from the parking area near Paulina Peak and 2.1-mile trail from the Paulina Peak Trailhead to the highest point of Newberry National Volcanic Monument (7,994 feet) with a spectacular view of Newberry Caldera.
Mountain bikes and horses are prohibited.
Peter Skene Odgen # 3956
Difficult | 17.2 miles out and back | 2,000 feet elevation gain
The 8.5 miles trail runs from Ogden Group Camp to Paulina Lake, offering a refreshing hike along Paulina Creek while enjoying beautiful waterfalls on your way. The trail is open for hiking. The parallel trail is used for horseback riding (both directions), and mountain biking (only uphill). This trail can be started from the McKay Crossing Campground which is located 2.8 miles east of the Ogden Group Campground.
Crater Rim Trail #3957
Difficult | 20 miles loop | 1,400 feet elevation gain
The 20-mile circle around Newberry Caldera begins from the Paulina Lake Trailhead. The trail is used for mountain biking and horseback riding. Shorten the loop by using a connector trail.
Lost Lake # 3958.2
Difficult | 3.8 miles out and back | 300 feet elevation gain
The 3.8 miles runs to the drier part of the caldera with great views of the obsidian flow. The trailhead is located near the Big Obsidian Flow. This trail has a connection with Lost Lake South Trail near Pumice Flat and Crater Rim Trail.
Note. The road into the Newberry Monument is closed by snow sometime between November and May. The Ten-Mile sno-park allows access for the last three miles to the Caldera by snowmobile or skis.
Things to Do and See
Paulina Lake is one of two deep mountain lakes inside Newberry Caldera, within the boundaries of Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Paulina Lake Hot Springs are numerous thermal springs emerging in Paulina Lake. Most hot springs are secured by the lakes, coming from a bottom and mixing with the cold water.
East Lake Hot Springs on the southeast edge of the East Lake is a series of heated sulfur springs that come up from the lake bottom.
Directions to Paulina Lake Trailhead
- Travel approximately 23 miles south on US 97 to Paulina East Lake Road
- Turn left onto Paulina East Road and drive 13 miles east to Paulina Lake Trailhead.