One thing I love about living in Bend, Oregon is there is evidence of the areas volcanic past almost everywhere. One place to get a good view of some of Central Oregon's volcanic geological features is at the Lava Lands Visitor Center in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
The Lava Lands Visitor Center is a must-see for anyone visiting the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Lava Lands Visitor Center Photo Gallery
You can hike the Trail of the Molten Lands, the Trail of the Whispering Pines, or you can drive to the top of Lava Butte for a spectacular view of Central Oregon. Butte parking is limited to 10 spaces, so free 30 minute time passes are issued on a first come, first served basis at the Center's Welcome Station. Please note on busy summer days there may be delays in your being able to access Lava Butte, but the view of Central Oregon from the top is worth any wait.
Helpful rangers will help familiarize you to the monument using by using 3D topographic maps, and a visit to the state of the art interpretive exhibit on the area's geologic and cultural history will teach you almost everything you need to know about past volcanic activity in Central Oregon.
You can also shop in the Discover Your Northwest Bookstore, or view a variety of scheduled daily films. Or you can just picnic under the pines, and perhaps attend a ranger talk. The choice is yours.
Hikes at the Visitor Center
Trail of the Molten Land
This is a great little hike if volcanoes are something that interests you.
From Lava Lands Visitor Center in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, this trail meanders out across the basalt lava flow for just a little over a mile to its source at the base of Lava Butte.
One third of the trail is a newly reconstructed section that is Universally Accessible, and the rangers did a super job on the recent trail construction. Older sections of the trail have grades and surfaces that may be challenging without assistance.
There are also several new full color interpretive signs that tell the story of the eruption of Lava Butte and the life that now makes the lava their home.
Whispering Pines Trail
Located behind the Visitor, the Trail of the Whispering Pines winds through a young ponderosa pine forest, and it is even possible to walk up Lava Butte. However keep in mind there is no trail up the butte, and you have to walk up the congested road, so please watch for traffic.
From Bend, OR travel south on Highway 97, the Visitor Center is approximately 8 miles south of Exit 143 Baker/Knot Rd. Turn right when you see lava and the Lava Lands sign.
From La Pine, OR travel north on Highway 97. Take Exit 151/Cottonwood Rd. Turn right after exiting. Continue on road about 2 miles passing Lava River Cave. Turn right after underpass to Lava Lands Visitor Center Welcome Station.
Parking fee is $5/vehicle/day from May 2 through September 30, however if you have a Northwest Recreation Pass you do not have to pay the parking fee.
The Lava Lands Visitor Center now has a before and after hours Day Use Only parking area at the west end of the Lava Lands parking lot for visitors desiring to access the trails before 9:00am or after 5:00pm. Please display your Recreation Pass when parked in this area.