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Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Over a quarter century, a volcano’s ash and fire have given way to trees, lakes, and lava tubes.

Newberry Volcanic park, Paulina Lake, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Dennis Frates/Alamy
Photo caption
Paulina Lake reflects the rising sun.

The Rhode Island–size volcano cauterized central Oregon some 75,000 years ago, but visitors to Newberry National Volcanic Monument can commemorate the area with a less fiery event: a 25th anniversary fete.

The 54,000-plus-acre site south of Bend offers an otherworldly combination of geology and recreation. Visitors drive to the 7,985-foot summit of Paulina Peak for views of the rest of the Cascade Range as well as Washington and Oregon; go for easy-to-moderate hikes among obsidian flows and lava tubes; or stop by the Lava Lands Visitor Center to see a 3-D topographic map. Brown trout lure anglers to Paulina and East Lakes in the Newberry caldera, the 17-square-mile crater formed when the volcano’s depleted magma chamber collapsed.

To join the celebration this fall, head to the Paulina Lake Lodge (seen in the film Wild) for horseshoe contests, barbecue, and live music on Sept. 5 and 6. On Sept. 13, naturalists offer junior ranger programs. And in Bend on Oct. 27, McMenamins Old St. Francis School hotel hosts a lecture on how the massive—and potentially still active—volcano influenced the region’s ancient peoples.

This article was first published in September 2015. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.