Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glass Mountains and Lava Tubes

Newberry National Volcanic Monument in the
Deschutes National Forest in Bend, Oregon

This excursion provided opportunities for exotic adventures including climbing a mountain of glass, feeling of the spray of twin waterfalls, and stumbling through an underground lava cave. 

This week we traveled to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in the Deschutes National Forest during out Sunriver Vacation.  This destination is located in Bend, Oregon and is a must see attraction when visiting Central Oregon.

Here is how to recreate these adventures...

Obsidian at Newberry Crater

1.  Big Obsidian Flow:   A short, one mile loop hike will take you through a hill made of volcanic remains including pumice (light, porous rock) and obsidian (volcanic glass).  Wear sturdy, tough shoes when traveling on the trail, as walking on glass shards would be tough in sandals.  Also, dogs should not go on this trail because they could hurt their paws.  The short trail is definitely worth the climb as you get views of the mountains, pond below, and amazing geology.

Big Obsidian Flow
Big Obsidian Flow and Pond

2.  Paulina Falls:  These 80 foot side-by-side waterfalls are just a short walk (3 min) from the parking lot.  Additional hikes are in the area, but with limited time, it's easy to get a great peak at the beautiful falls.  There are picnic tables available nearby if you want to make it a lunch stop.

Paulina Falls
One of the Paulina Falls

3.  Lava River Cave:  Another must-experience stop in the park is the Lava tubes.  This one mile long tube is available to walk for no additional charge then the park fee (see below).  Wear warm clothes as the cave maintains a cool 40ยบ F temp.  You need a flashlight to explore the lava tube, as it is pitch black underground, however, propane lanterns are available at the site for rent at $5 a piece.  This site is open May-October from 9 am to 5 pm.  Check out the National Forest Website for more information.  Picnic tables are also available if you want to pack a lunch outside the caves.

Descending into Lava Cave
Taken with a flash in the Lava Tubes

More Info:

Challenge Level:  Easy for all!  Great Family Destinations.
Cost:  $5 day fee to enter park.
Location:  All destinations are off US 97 in Bend, Oregon

We loved our visit to Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  It was a unique and impressive spot.

Please leave comments and questions below...