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Go Here 6/25-7/2

Volcanic wonders in Central Oregon

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Who knew the Seven Wonders of the World were right here in Central Oregon; the seven volcanic wonders that is. In Bend's backyard sits Newberry National Volcanic Monument, home to Lava Butte and the Newberry Caldera. Designated a National Monument in 1990, this year Newberry celebrates its 25th anniversary with a year's worth of activities celebrating the volcanic history within its borders.

Monument Manager Scott McBride suggests these must-do sites for visitors.

The Easiest

Drive eight miles south on Hwy 97 to the well-marked exit for the Lava Lands Visitor Center, telling the tale of the formation of Lava Butte, the geologic history of Newberry, and its intimate relationship with Mt. Mazama, better known as Crater Lake.

In past years, visitors were required to wait their turn to drive the two-mile road to the top of the butte. This year, a shuttle transports visitors to the summit, where they can walk the perimeter of the cone and view the active fire tower.

There is also a new a 5.5-mile paved bike/walk path that leads from the visitor's center, connecting with the Deschutes River Trail and Sunriver.

The Seven Wonders

The monument's wonders include Lava River Cave, Lava Cast Forest, and a variety of sites in the Caldera. Lava River Cave is the most heavily visited feature within monument property with year-round temperatures in the 40s. Lamps are provided and footing can be touchy in spots, but it is a visit well worth planning for.

The Newberry Caldera, 15 miles further south, offers popular recreational activities on Paulina and East Lake. A visit to the caldera is not complete without walking the Big Obsidian Flow and visiting Paulina Falls. Mountain bikers are lured to the 17-mile rim ride, varying in difficulty from easy to hard.

For a schedule of events celebrating the caldera's 25th anniversary, visit discoveryourforest.org

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