Friday, June 21, 2013

Lava Lands

It was cold again today.  We thought about riding, but decided we'd go back to the Benham trail head and hike another section of the the Deschutes River trail.  First, we went to the visitor's center, where we received a ticket that would allow us to drive up Lava Butte.  We spent some time at the looking at the displays which we really interesting.  We had no idea of the extent of the volcanic features around here.  There are 400 cinder cones in the area.  Lava Butte is a cinder cone.

This a Golden Mantled Chipmunk.  They are so cute. He ran down the path in front of us, ever so often he would stop and look at us as if expecting food for cute.

See the V shaped notch?  That's where lava punched out of the side of the cinder cone and flowed out.  The photo does not do it justice.

Here is an image from the web, you can see where lava exited the side of the cone and flowed out.  This happened 7,000 years ago. 

 Tree growing in lava.  See all of the little rolling hills in the distance?  Cinder cones.

This is the top of Lava Butte.  
After looking at the scale map of the area, we decided to drive down to Newberry Crater.  We stopped at the giant obsidian flow. This occurred 1,300 years ago when the Newberry volcano erupted, throwing out 170 million cubic yards of obsidian and pumice.  There are many trails in the area that one can hike to look at the two lakes and the flow and the scenery.  Unfortunately, we hadn't planned to go there and had not dressed for the 46 degree temperatures.  It was really cold!  This is the edge of the flow.

This is a pretty cool area, there's a lot to go look at.  Until going in the visitor's center, we had no idea of the scope of the volcanic activity in the area.  If you're in Bend, you should go.


  1. Thanks for the information. We only traveled through Bend, never stopped. It would be nice to spend some time there and visit this area. I really enjoymthe volcanic sites.

  2. I love the Obsidian flow! Lake Paulina is interesting as well and there are some lava tubes you can walk in (must have a flashlight). How crazy that it was so cold there in June!