This isn’t the Bend you’re used to seeing from Pete Buttigieg. He is from South Bend, Illinois, which is close to Chicago. This is Bend, Oregon, the gateway to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a must-see in the United States that only the most seasoned travelers can locate. It’s hard to imagine so many people are unaware of it! Newberry is not a National Park like the Grand Canyon Area, and it is not governed by an Indian tribe. The area around the Newberry volcano is a National Monument type nature reserve, and the volcano in its center is one of the greatest shield volcanoes in the Cascade Range, with a lava flow to the northwest that is about 40 kilometers long.
It is a rugged, uncomfortable, a nasty and gloomy terrain of 224 square kilometers protected area, designated by the US Congress in November 1990 and now managed by the US Forest Service. It is totally within the Deschutes National Forest, a national forest, yet there are no trees around the volcano, which was named after army scientist John Strong Newberry (1822-1892). There are only black and grey stones here, as well as heavy and light stones.
Between 1857 and 1858, Newberry was part of a US Army expedition looking for possible railway lines when he discovered the volcano. Instead, he encountered a volcano of a different kind. It rises quite flat from the surrounding terrain, as do other shield volcanoes. Paulina Peak, at 2434 meters, is the highest point in Newberry, only 1000 meters above the Deschutes River. You can go underground instead of climbing steep peaks: Newberry featured caves and tunnels, groves, and crypts. Ladders and stairways are available for entry, and they have installed lighting and made walkways for guests.
You may walk about the location, which is 45 kilometers south of Bend in Deschutes County, and see an unearthly scene. This is where astronauts trained and prepared for their lunar expedition years before the first man landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. The lava plains of Newberry Crater are bleak and desolate, just like the moon’s surface, therefore it meets NASA’s requirements.
You should realize that the volcano’s caldera, or heart, has a diameter of around 6.5 kilometers. It now features two lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake, as well as the Big Obsidian Flow, the newest lava flow, and Central Pumice Cone, a small cinder cone. Paulina Lake is 615 hectares in size, with a depth of up to 76 meters and a height of 1935 meters. It’s the equivalent of 1000 soccer fields.
Rain, melt water, and hot volcanic springs are the only sources of water for the clear blue lake. A 200 to 300 meter high crater rim surrounds the caldera, with one leak: On the west side of the caldera, Paulina Creek, a small stream, rushes out of the volcano through a gorge. Geologists believe the caldera was formed about 500,000 years ago when a volcano with a height of about 2700 meters and a diameter of roughly 40 kilometers collapsed. Lava flows blanketed the majority of the area at the time. The Lava Cast Forest is located in one of these flowing lava flows, where tree trunk imprints are preserved in the cooled lava. A forest of the dead.
The Lava Butte, a 1528 m high volcanic cone rising over 150 meters above the surrounding environment, is nearby and appears to be dead and dumb. However, you should be aware that in the last 10,000 years, there have been approximately 25 eruptions in the crater, resulting in lava flows. Big Obsidian Flow is the youngest volcanic activity in central Oregon, dating back to around 650. The volcano is waiting for his next eruption deep within the earth.
Caves and tunnels, as well as the caldera and waterfalls, lava flows, summits, and lakes, are open to the public till further notice. The Newberry National Volcanic Monument has about 110 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian riding paths. Exploring the Newberry Crater (officially a caldera) is a great chance to learn about and observe firsthand the tumultuous geological past that helped shape Central Oregon into the lovely place it is today.
Lave Butte, located just off Highway 97 just before Lava Lands, is the source of the lava flows and jagged volcanic glass you witness. Before heading to Newberry Crater, stop by the Lava Lands Visitors Center to be oriented. Newberry Welcome Station also has information and a map. While many people overlook this region, Paulina Falls, an 80-foot double waterfall just a short walk from the car, is worth a visit. If you drive all the way to the top, don’t miss the breathtaking view. Commit to a full, guided day and check out the Paulina Plunge, a blend of mountain biking and waterfall adventure, for bonus points and memories.