Skiing the Cascade Volcanoes
        Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
  Lassen Peak
  Mount Shasta
  Medicine Lake Volcano
  Mount McLoughlin
  Pelican Butte
  Crater Lake
  Mount Bailey
  Mount Thielsen
  Diamond Peak
  Newberry Volcano
  Mount Bachelor
  Broken Top
  Three Sisters
  Mount Washington
  Three Fingered Jack
  Mount Jefferson
  Mount Hood
  Mount Saint Helens
  Mount Adams
  Goat Rocks
  Mount Rainier
  Glacier Peak
  Mount Baker
  Mount Garibaldi
  Mount Cayley
  Mount Meager

| The broad caldera of Newberry Volcano seen from the summit of
Paulina Peak in October, with Paulina Lake (center), East Lake,
and the Big Obsidian Flow (lower right). Mount Bachelor and
the Three Sisters are visible in the distance at left.
(panorama digitally composited from 3 photos
by Amar Andalkar)   <click to enlarge>

Newberry Volcano
    7985 ft (2434 m) .
Major Peaks:
Paulina Peak:     7985 ft (2434 m)
North Paulina Peak:     7686 ft (2343 m)
Location: East of Cascade Range, central Oregon,
25 miles (40 km) SSE of Bend
Lat / Long: 43.7° N, 121.3° W
Volcanic Type: Shield volcano with caldera and cinder cones
Volcanic Status: Active, fumaroles in both lakes
First Ascent: Unknown, Native American
First Ski Descent:
Skiable Vertical: over 3000 ft (900 m)
Timberline: over 8000 ft (2400 m), above the highest summits
Administration: Deschutes National Forest
Protection Status:   Newberry National Volcanic Monument
User Fees: Northwest Forest Pass required for parking
(Sno-Park Permit from November-April)

    Newberry Volcano is the largest volcano in Oregon, a broad shield volcano with a huge area of 600 square miles (1500 square km) and massive volume of 110 cubic miles (450 cubic km) which are second only to Medicine Lake Volcano in the entire Cascade Range. These two volcanoes are near twins, with similar size, elevation, structure, evolution, and volcanic products. Both are located in the high desert, well east of the Cascade Crest, and thus receive somewhat lower snowfall than the main range to the west. The summit of Newberry has collapsed to form a large 3 x 4.5 mile (5 x 7 km) caldera known as Newberry Crater, which holds two lakes, Paulina and East Lakes, that contain a number of hot springs revealing that magma lies close below the surface. Several large and easily accessible obsidian flows cover large portions of the caldera floor, while the flanks of the shield are studded with over 200 cinder cones. The numerous lava flows originating from these cinder cones contain dozens of known lava-tube caves, including several whose depths hold permanent ice throughout the year.
    Despite these similarities to Medicine Lake, there are a number of important differences which make Newberry a better ski objective. The highest point on Newberry is Paulina Peak, a massive extruded dome which has a gravel road to its summit. The northern side of Paulina Peak is steep, with a number of gullies offering excellent (albeit somewhat short) downhill runs. Newberry is also much more developed, since it was declared a National Volcanic Monument in 1990. The main access road is excellent and paved, and it is plowed in winter to access two snowparks, the closest of which is only 2 miles from the caldera rim. In spring, the remaining segment of the road into the two lakes is also plowed open, allowing very short access to a variety of nice ski routes, most of which are more cross-country than downhill. Unfortunately, despite its semi-protected status as a National Monument, all of Newberry is open to snowmobilers, and they usually outnumber the skiers in both winter and spring.

Route Ratings Starting
Quality Effort Ascent Descent
Ski Mountaineering / Cross-Country Skiing Routes:  
Paulina Peak Road
  (spring access from
   Paulina Lake)

6350 ft
(1900 m)
1600 ft
(500 m)
8 miles
(13 km)
This easy but circuitous route ascends the snow-covered road to the summit of Paulina Peak, following a gentle 10% grade as it winds and switchbacks uphill. In winter, a nordic ski trail parallels the unplowed road from the last snowpark into the caldera, adding several miles to the trip. The main reason for doing this route is the astonishing view from the summit. The entire length of the Oregon Cascades fills the western horizon, from Mount Hood all the way south to Mount Shasta in California. To the south lie hundreds of cinder cones dotting the southern flanks of Newberry itself, while to the north and east is the broad expanse of Newberry Crater with its two lakes, several obsidian flows, and Central Pumice Cone.
  (winter access from
   Ten-Mile Snow Park)

5600 ft
(1700 m)
2400 ft
(700 m)
15 miles
(24 km)
Paulina Peak: NW Chutes
  (via summit road)

6350 ft
(1900 m)
1600 ft
(500 m)
6 miles
(10 km)
Descending the summit road may satisfy cross-country skiers, but most ski mountaineers will look for something more interesting. The two best options are to ski down the northeast or northwest sides of Paulina Peak. The northeast is a broad, steep bowl which drops directly from the summit down towards the toe of the Big Obsidian Flow, while the northwest side is series of steep, narrow chutes which drop through lava ridges and pinnacles in a bowl beginning several hundred yards northwest of the summit.
Paulina Peak: NE Bowl
  (via summit road)

7 miles
(11 km)
North Paulina Peak
  (spring access from
   Paulina Lake)

6350 ft
(1900 m)
1400 ft
(450 m)
7 miles
(11 km)
North Paulina Peak is much less prominent and far less visited than Paulina Peak, a mere bump which is the highest point on the northern rim of the caldera. A trail leads along the rim from the Paulina Lake entrance, although this is a snowmobile route in winter. Instead of returning along the trail, a more interesting descent route heads due south down the sloping caldera wall to reach the Interlake Obsidian Flow, which completely spans the saddle between the two lakes. After crossing the flow, it is a simple ascent to reach the summit of the Central Pumice Cone, a large cinder cone towering over 700 ft above the center of the caldera. A short but steep descent followed by a long traverse around Paulina Lake leads back to the trailhead.
North Paulina Peak Loop
  returning via
   Central Pumice Cone

1900 ft
(600 m)
8 miles
(13 km)

Upcoming additions: Topographic map showing ski routes.

| Panoramic view of Newberry Crater in July, looking through the glacial cirque of the Northeast Bowls on Paulina Peak at
Paulina Lake (left) and East Lake, and the Big Obsidian Flow (lower right). The summit of Paulina Peak is at upper right.
(Digitally composited from 6 photos by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

| Paulina Peak, the high point on the rim of Newberry Crater,
seen from the eastern shore of East Lake in late June
(photo by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

| The broad shield of Newberry Volcano seen from Lava Butte, 20 miles to the NW;
in the foreground is Highway 97 and the dark lava flow from Lava Butte
(photo by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

Useful Web Links:

Deschutes National Forest: Home Page
Deschutes National Forest: Recreation Report
Deschutes National Forest: Newberry National Volcanic Monument
National Weather Service Office: Portland, OR
Yahoo! Weather: Bend, OR, Forecast
USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Newberry Caldera
Deschutes National Forest: Oregon Volcanoes: Newberry Volcano

List of Guidebooks:  (detailed references on the bibliography page)

Cross Country Ski Routes in Oregon Paulina road and N. Paulina trails (skiing info)

List of Maps:

Map Series Scale Topo? Map Names Year Notes
USGS 7.5-minute 1:24,000 Yes, 40 ft
Yes, 20 ft
Yes, 40 ft
Yes, 40 ft
Paulina Peak
East Lake
Lava Cast Forest
Fuzztail Butte
Standard USGS maps, the first two maps
  cover nearly all of the area of interest;
  the trail information is quite outdated
USGS 30' x 60' 1:100,000 Yes, 50 m La Pine 1986 Helpful for a regional overview across
  the broad shield of Newberry Volcano
US Forest Service 1:126,720 No Deschutes National Forest 1988 Useful for forest road information, but not necessary

More photos, routes, links, references, etc. coming soon...
Please contact me with any suggestions, additions, or corrections.

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Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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