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a visit to the newberry volcano and caldera

What is larger? the state of Rhode Island or the Newberry Volcano in central Oregon? Answer: They are approximately the same size. Each has an area of about 3100 square km.

Recently, I visited the Newberry Volcano and Caldera south of Bend, Oregon just off US Route 97, which heads further south toward Crater Lake National Park, another volcano that blew its top a long time ago.

After turning off Route 97 and climbing a well paved road, one reaches the first of two lakes in the area, Paulina Lake. The second, further along the road, is East Lake. Here at Paulina Lake the secondary gravel road, which climbs to the the Newberry Peak Overlook, offers a bumpy, washboard-like ride. You wind and climb to 8,000 feet above sea level. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

From the large parking lot, one has a spectacular panoramic view of the valley that extends toward Klamath Falls and Crater Lake National Park and of the volcano ridges, the lava flows, and the two large lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake. In addition to the Three Sisters and Mount Hood on the horizon, nearby are weathered trees which have become beautiful in their old age. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

The remnants of tree trunks speak of another time when Indians inhabited the area and fur trappers hunted and discovered the two lakes and astronauts tested their skills and mobility on the lava flow. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

Flowers and small trees grow as well on the overlook. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)


Next to the parking lot is a small building, which seems out of place. It is a restroom.

Some of the many fun facts about the Newberry Volcano and Caldera are: It contains the widest variety of volcanic features of any national park or monument in the U.S. The slopes of Newberry Volcano are covered with more than 400 cinder cones and volcanic vents, Lava Butte being the most well known. The Big Obsidian flow is the oyugest lava flow in Oregon, ash from its eruption 1,300 years ago reached present day Idaho. Plants and wildlife found in Newberry Caldera display distinct adaptations. The rare Pumice Moonwart is found here and few other locations in the world. The Caldera has been a major source of obsidian for native peoples of the western United States for the past 10,000 years. (The information was gleaned from a brochure pamphlet promoting the Volcano and Caldera.)

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. hungryko #

    I like the dramatic blue color of the water and sky. And my, what a beautiful spot to put a bathroom. I’m assuming though that once in the bathroom, it’s a dark outhouse and there are no windows to show the natural surrounding beauty of the area to enjoy the view while doing business. Ah, but windows in public bathrooms aren’t necessarily desirable I guess.

  2. No windows, but imagine what it would be like to exit and see the horizon.


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