Located in the high desert of Central Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is home to dramatic rock spires that rise above the winding Crooked River. The park is a world-famous destination for rock climbing, but Smith Rock also offers miles of trails for hikers to experience the diverse high desert landscape and majestic rock scenery. If you are seeking a challenging hike that yields great rewards, you must check out the Misery Ridge Trail!
Located in Oregon’s beautiful Deschutes National Forest, Newberry National Volcanic Monument is full of unexpected treasures. Not only does the monument contain the largest volcano in the Cascades, it is packed full of beautiful vistas, a varied and rugged landscape, an impressive waterfall and plenty of places to explore. The landscape is so unique and “otherworldly” that it was once even used as a training ground for astronauts between 1964 and 1966 to help train for the lunar landing!
Wizard Island is the well-known volcanic cinder cone located just off the western shores of Crater Lake. 7,700 years ago, the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama created the Crater Lake caldera. A series of later eruptions caused the formation of several cinder cones on the floor of the caldera. The tallest of these cones and only one to rise above the current surface of Crater Lake is Wizard Island!
Paulina Falls is a terrific short hike, located just south of Bend, OR in the little-known Newberry National Volcanic Monument. While this “hike” is more of an easy stroll, the reward for the effort is fantastic.
The trail is less than half-mile in total (round-trip) with several options, including one with little elevation gain that heads to the top of the Paulina Falls. You can also head down to the bottom of Paulina Falls for a different perspective (with some elevation change). Additionally, you can make Paulina Falls part of a much longer hike (see the “Paulina Creek Falls Trail” information below).
In the remote southeast corner of Crater Lake National Park sits the Pinnacles Overlook and Pinnacles Trail. This little-known part of the park is not heavily trafficked and definitely not what jumps to mind when most people think of Crater Lake. However, the lack of people in the area only adds to the enjoyment for most.