Newberry Caldera 09-12-17

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bobcat
Posts: 2075
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Newberry Caldera 09-12-17

Post by bobcat » September 18th, 2017, 4:50 pm

I spent the better part of a day at the Newberry Caldera, part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, doing a 14-mile loop on the collapsed core of Oregon’s largest volcano (by volume), which began activity about 400,000 years ago. I started the hike at Paulina Lake and took the Crater Rim Trail the three miles up to Paulina Peak, at 7,984 feet the highest prominence in central Oregon east of the Cascades. Yes, you can drive to the top, but after a mile of slag lodgepole pine forest, the trail reaches the caldera rim, and I began to get great views down into the caldera itself as well as up to the craggy cliffs of Paulina Peak. The nearest Cascade summits, however, were shrouded in the summer-long fire haze. Whitebark pines dominate the parklands on the upper slopes. They are making a comeback after being decimated in a 1950s outbreak of blister rust.
Paulina Lake from the Crater Rim Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Paulina and East Lakes from the Crater Rim Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
View to Paulina Lake from the rim, Crater Rim Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Big Obsidian Flow from Paulina Peak, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Crags and Paulina Lake, Paulina Peak Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
At the peak itself, there were other visitors, including a couple of minibuses full of OSU students who were studying climate change. I got a great view down to the Big Obsidian Flow, my next destination. I followed the Crater Rim Trail east along the edge of the caldera and then descended the Lost Lake Trail along the Obsidian Flow, taking a short diversion to the Pumice Flat. For my lunch break, I sat in an “armchair” of smooth black glass on the edge of the two-mile long flow, which at 1,300 years, is the youngest lava flow in the state.
East face, Paulina Peak from the Crater Rim Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Whitebark pine skeleton, Crater Rim Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Pumice Flat, Lost Lake Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Obsidian, Lost Lake Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Obsidian pillar and Paulina Peak, Lost Lake Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Edge of the flow, Lost Lake Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Lodgepole woods, Lost Lake Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
When I reached the Newberry Crater Trail on the caldera floor, I headed up to do the short interpretive trail on the obsidian flow itself. Once again, I ran into a slew of fellow visitors who had driven in. From vantage points up on the flow, you can see the shallow remnants of Lost Lake at the base of the flow.
Scree edge, Big Obsidian Flow, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Lost Lake, Big Obsidian Flow, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Obsidian jumble, Big Obsidian Flow, Newberry Caldera.jpg
The last leg of the loop involved hiking along the Obsidian Cliffs. Here, the odd whitebark pine, twisted and gnarled, has found foothold on the slopes of glass where other trees fear to take root. After the flow, the trail became dusty from horse use, and I ended up hiking a telephone line corridor back to the parking area at Paulina Lake. By that time, fire smoke had rolled in with a change of the winds, and I could not see across the water to the north shoreline!
Whitebark pines, Obsidian Cliffs, Newberry Crater Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
Obsidian Cliffs, Newberry Crater Trail, Newberry Caldera.jpg
This is a national monument, but it is administered by the Deschutes National Forest, so you just need a Northwest Forest Pass or $5 permit to park here.

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CampinCarl
Posts: 573
Joined: June 17th, 2011, 7:41 am
Location: Salem

Re: Newberry Caldera 09-12-17

Post by CampinCarl » September 18th, 2017, 9:37 pm

I love this place. Your OSU sighting reminds me of the Geography of Oregon class I took there in fall 2005, a most excellent start to my master's program! We road tripped around the state and had a great time seeing a wide variety of landscapes across the state. Your route looks like a great one to tour some geological wonders. Thanks for the report.

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Chip Down
Posts: 1973
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Newberry Caldera 09-12-17

Post by Chip Down » September 21st, 2017, 7:51 pm

Neat.
I've been there, but was in a rush, and looks like I missed some of the good stuff.

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oldandslow
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Joined: August 22nd, 2012, 12:47 pm

Re: Newberry Caldera 09-12-17

Post by oldandslow » September 22nd, 2017, 2:21 pm

Very nice trip report. Here is a sample of the view of the Cascades from Paulina Peak had there not been smoke.
Cascades-from-PP.jpg-red.jpg

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