The Best of Central Oregon’s Natural Beauty on the Cheap! #1

newberry crater national monument east lake resort paulina lake central oregonCentral Oregon has long been known as one of the most desirable places to visit and vacation. With panoramic Cascade Mountain views, clean beautiful waters, gorgeous high desert landscapes, and tons of outdoor and family activities, it’s no wonder people are flocking there for year-round family fun. That’s why we have decided to focus our next few blogs on some great, inexpensive, summer activities that you can enjoy around Central Oregon. Though there are enough things to keep you busy around there that we could write dozens of blogs, we’re going to focus on the natural beauty of the national monuments, and museums.


In this blog, we will be highlighting Newberry National Volcanic Monument, also known as Newberrry Crater. Newberry Volcano is the largest volcano in the Cascades volcanic arc and it covers an area roughly the size of Rhode Island. Unlike the other cone-shaped Cascades volcanoes, such as South Sister, Newberry is in the shape of a broad shield due to repeated eruptions over the past 400,000 years. About 75,000 years ago a major explosive eruption anCd collapse event created a large volcanic depression at its summit that now hosts two caldera lakes, East and Paulina. Newberry last erupted about 1300 years ago, and is still an active volcano. Located just 10 miles South of Bend, this crater boasts one of the most amazing collections of geological wonders found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest: cinder cones, lava flows, lava tubes, waterfalls, crater lakes, several gigantic black, shiny, obsidian flows, jagged cliffs, and steep yet forested crater walls.  One accesible lava tube is known as Lava River Cave. You can take an unguided tour on your own, but be sure to dress warm as it is an average of 42 degress Farehnheit inside the cave. It takes approximately an hour and a half to explore the entire thing and costs just $5 per car. You will need to bring along a lantern, or you can rent one onsite for an additional $5. About 30 miles more will get you to East Lake and Paulina Lake. Located just 6 miles apart, these crater lakes are home to brown and rainbow trout, as well as kokanee and Atlantic salmon. There are seven campgrounds in the Crater, offering shoreline camping, boat ramps, restroom facilities, group camping areas, and a horse camp with equestrian trails.  East Lake Resort offers an RV campground, as well as tent camping and cabin rentals. It is home to miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as some of Central Oregon’s best ATV off-roading trails. This entire area is a virtual outdoor playground, so bring your hiking boots, your fishing poles, your kayaks, your atv’s, and your mountain bikes, and see some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the Pacific Northwest. Watch for our next blog where we will highlight the High Desert Museum, another Central Oregon gem to keep you and your family entertained on the cheap! Have you had a wonderful Central Oregon vacation? Have any tips for our readers, or photos to share? You can comment here, or post them to our Facebook wall.


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