Paulina Lake is one of two deep crater lakes inside the Newberry Caldera, within the boundaries of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The 5 miles wide, Newberry Caldera contains over 50,000 acres of lakes (Paulina and East Lakes) - both with hot springs, Pailina Peak, Paulina Falls, and the country's largest Big Obsidian Lava Flow.
The caldera was formed by the number of volcanic eruptions and overlying volcano's dome collapse. It took approximately 600,000 years of volcanic activity to create the caldera we see today. Last of the irruptions which formed caldera was found to happen as recent as 1300 years ago. While initially there was only one lake, but subsequent eruptions of lava filled a middle section of the large crater dividing it into two water-bodies.
Elevated 6,300 feet above sea level, Paulina Lake is the largest (1,530 acres) and the deepest (250 feet) lake in the Newberry Caldera. The average depth of the lake is 165 feet. Most parts of the lake are 200 feet deep, whereas the southeast edge of the lake is 40 feet deep.
Both Paulina and East Lakes are fed by water from rain, snow melt, and hot springs. Also, Paulina Lake receives water from ground-water of East Lake that flow through a penetrable shield wall of lava (ash and pumice deposits) that separates two lakes. The level of the Paulina Lake is regulated by Paulina Creek that flows it a westward direction to the Little Deschutes River.
The water of both Newberry Caldera lakes has high concentrations of ions that are strongly influenced by the hot springs, discharging into the lakes.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument is an excellent four-season destination. A portion of the things you can do when you visit the area includes skiing, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, soaking in the hot springs, and enjoying the fantastic views of the caldera rim and snow-capped Paulina Peak.
Things to Do and See
The high alpine lakes of Newberry Caldera Paulina and East Lakes are great destinations for swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, and much more. Non-motorized and motorized boating with a 10 mph speed limit is permitted. If you do not have a boat, you can rent fishing and cruise boats at the Paulina Lodge, the west edge of Paulina Lake.
Hot Springs Soaking
Swimming is available on the southwest shore of Paulina Lake near Paulina Lake Campground and a resort.
The quality of deep and cold waters of Paulina Lake with minerals from the hot springs support abundance and diversity of fish including kokanee, rainbow and brown trout. Rental fishing boats are available at the Paulina Lodge from late April to the end of October. The speed limit on the lake is 10 miles-per-hour.
The lake keeps the state records for catching brown trout since 1965. In 1965, a 35-pound, 8-ounce brown trout was grabbed but this catch was not legal (the fish was hardly moving in the water with a broken hook and line in its mouth and was caught with a net.). In 1993, a 27-pound, 12-ounce behemoth was successfully landed. The last great catch was made in 2002 when a 25-pound, 5-ounce brown trout was pulled out of Paulina Lake.
Paulina Lake also holds the state record kokanee. In 1989, a 4-pound, 2- ounce fish was caught.
- Trolling with bait and jigging (the most popular and productive)
- Still fishing with bait
- Fly fishing in the shallower waters.
The best time for fishing: spring, summer, and fall.
Hiking & Backpacking & Mountain Biking
There are over 100 miles of trails within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The trail can be used for horseback riding, mountain biking, and in winter for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
- Paulina Lakeshore Loop Trail
- Little Crater Trail
- Big Obsidian Flow Trail
- Paulina Peak Trail
- Paulina Falls Trail
- Peter Skene Odgen
- Crater Rim Trail
East Lake and East Lake Hot Springs
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. Most of the hot springs secured by the lakes, but a few could be found on the lakeshore when the water level is low.
You can drive or hike to Paulina Peak, the highest point of Newberry Volcano, south of Paulina Lake. Paulina Peak offers spectacular 360-degree views of the national monument. The last part of the road is unpaved road and not suited for RV travel.
Big Obsidian Flow
The largest obsidian flow in the United States, Big Obsidian Flow has formed 1,300 years ago and use by Native Americans as row materials for arrowheads and other tools. In the 1960s, NASA astronauts used Big Obsidian Flow as a training location in preparation for landing on the moon.
A one-mile interpretive loop trail will guide you through the most recent eruption of Newberry Volcano.
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 obsidian rocks, check Lake County Rockhounding Sites.
The double 80-foot Paulina Falls on Paulina Creek. From the parking lot, follow the short Paulina Falls trail to Paulina Falls Day Use Area with a viewing point.
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.
Paulina Lake | General Description
Open: Year-round, some road can be closed due to snow
Managed: US Forest Service
Location: Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Services: Cafe and restaurant, picnic areas, visitor center, convenience store, gift shop, restrooms
Activities: Camping, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, boating, and soaking
Accommodations: Paulina Lake Lodge; Paulina Lake Campground; Little Crater Campground
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Recreation Pass
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Popularity: Moderate to high
Elevation: 6,350 ft (1,935 m)
Paulina Lake is located:
- 19 miles east of La Pine
- 39 miles southeast of Bend
- 131 miles east of Eugene
- 200 miles southeast of Portland.
Directions to Paulina Lake
- Travel approximately 23 miles south onto US 97 to Paulina East Lake Road
- Turn left onto Paulina East Road and drive 13 miles east to Paulina Lake.