You’ve surely heard of Crater Lake National Park. But, did you know that the two finalists for a National Park were between the Newberry Crater and Crater Lake? Since Crater Lake took gold, many people have never heard of, nor made the journey to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. You don’t want to miss out on epic lava flows, obsidian heaven, waterfalls, lakes, forests, caves, and hot springs. Visit Newberry National Monument: the volcano the size of Rhode Island.
OBSIDIAN LAVA FLOWS
As it sounds—there are massive fields of lava flow or obsidian. Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass. It’s hard and brittle and therefore breaks with very sharp edges. In the past it was used to manufacture cutting and piercing tools, so use caution when hiking through or touching it. Dogs should either not enter the fields or be equipped with thick booties to protect their feet from the volcanic glass. The most famous trail in the park is the Big Obsidian Flow Trail and is a must-do if you’re in the area. The path traverses the lava flow and offers expansive views and educational signs throughout the trail.
Paulina Creek Falls is a stunning 80-foot double waterfall (side by side) a short walk from the car. It’s easily accessible and beckons you closer. The falls are surrounded by a stunning primary forest clad with moss. There is a lookout near the top of the falls and a second near the bottom with switchbacks guiding you down. The water level in the falls has been on the decline over the last 5 years, that being said, it still packs a punch in early summer.
East Lake and Paulina Lake are both inside the National Volcanic Monument and are teeming with fish and fun things to do. Paulina Lake is equipped with a lodge, restaurant, and watercraft rental. There is also a 7.8‑mile well-groomed trail that circumnavigates the enormous lake where you’ll find endless swimming and wading opportunities. East Lake is Paulina’s quiet neighbor, perfect for wading, splashing, taking in the epic Cascade Mountain views, and a relaxing fly-fishing session. If you’re in the area for a while, check out nearby North and South Twin Lakes as well.
Paulina Lake has a “secret” feature that most never hear about. Along the back of the lake are small bathtub-sized pools that are naturally warm. The hot springs are approximately 10 feet by 4 feet and are encased with logs. The 3 pools are varying in heat from about 105F to lukewarm. The access to these hot springs are seasonal since the road to the park is closed in November until May 1st. Otherwise, you can snowmobile in. If you circumnavigate the lake or set out to enjoy these seasonal springs put these coordinates into your GPS: 43.719 / 121.209
photos courtesy Shannon Enete