Spoiler alert! This is the view of Mt. Bachelor from on top of Lava Butte…but we're not there yet.
We spent the day touring Newberry National Volcanic Monument, about 10 miles south of Bend.
Below is the bird's eye "view" of Lava Butte from the Visitor's Center. : ) See the candy cane stripe swirling up and around the butte? That's where we're going. It's all part of the Newberry Volcano, a shield type of volcano that covers an area about the size of Rhode Island!
Here's the red road up Lava Butte. I wonder if it's red because they made the paving out of cinders? In the back is the butte, which is a cinder cone, and on the left is the edge of one of the lava flows.
Once up on top, there is a walking trail that goes around the edge of the cinder cone's crater. Great views from every vantage point.
These are the loose cinders underfoot. Yes, they can be rolly and slippery. See, they're the same color as the road.
Looking down into the crater from the highest point of Lava Butte.
At the very top of the butte is a fire lookout tower, actively in use.
Lots of lava around here. We've been to Hawaii and seen lots of lava there too, but it's somehow more strange to see it here. Really, it's almost everywhere in the area in various stages of erosion, but this is one of the most recent flows, so it's not overgrown yet. The most recent lava flow in the area is about 1,500 years old.
At the base of Lava Butte is the "Trail of the Molten Land" that winds through the lava flow, up close and personal. The lava rock here is very sharp, what the Hawaiians named a'a. Those Hawaiins really know lava, and their names for the different kinds have been adopted by geologists.
This picture gives you a sense of how big this flow is.
From one of the high points of the flow we got another good view of Mt. Bachelor in a duet with a lone pine tree growing amidst the lava.
Creative name huh? It is just what the name says. BIG and obsidian. This is the edge of the flow. Still snow on the ground up here.
There are stairs that go up to the top and a trail around part of the flow, so you can really see the chunks of obsidian, which is a naturally occurring volcanic glass. It was prized by Native Americans for use in tools and weapons because it made such a hard, sharp edge when chipped. It's still prized by rock hounds, and there are signs around warning that it is illegal to remove any samples. Obsidian is really shiny too. This chunk was reflecting the sky and the snow.
Next stop Paulina Lake, one of two lakes in the Newberry Caldera.
Last stop, Paulina Falls - just off the road.
Newberry Volcano makes a great day trip from Bend - easy to get to, dramatic scenery, lots to learn,
plenty of hikes of various sizes and accessibilities. Something for everyone.
Come back for other local points of interest around Bend.