Day Trip – Newberry Volcano

What do you like to do when visiting Sunriver? Bike riding, swimming and floating the river are a must. If you find yourself with the time or desire to take a day trip from Sunriver, the Newberry Volcano area is a nearby and beautiful location to explore. And, you can do it in a day trip.

From Sunriver, head south on highway 97 for about 9 miles. Turn left onto Paulina Lake Rd (you will see signs directing you to Paulina and East lakes from the highway). Drive up this road for about 13 miles and you’ll be at the Paulina Lake Visitors Center. From here, there are lots of options for hikes, enjoying time on the shores of a lake, renting a boat and being on the lake and all-in-all exploring and taking in the natural beauty of the area.

Walk the Big Obsidian Flow:

Big Obsidian Flow - Paulina PeakA one-mile interpretative trail weaves you up and through a breathtaking 1300 year old obsidian flow. With amazing views of the Cascade Mountains, Paulina and East Lakes and so much more, you will be glad you took this walk. If you visit during the summer, be sure to wear sunscreen and bring lots of water. The shiny black rocks heat up fast and hot on summer days. This is a short and fairly easy walk, but wear good shoes and be prepared for hills as it is a rocky trail and you do gain some elevation. If you bring your dog along for this day trip, be sure to bring some boots for their paws, as there are lots of jagged rocks on the trail.

East Lake:

East Lake Resort

With a beautiful shoreline setting, a restaurant and a marina, the East Lake Resort is a great stop for your day trip up to the Newberry volcano area. Rent a stand up paddle board at the marina, then grab some lunch at the Blue Duck Grill, or just take a stroll along the shore and take in the fresh mountain air and the beauty of the area.

Paulina Lake:

The Paulina Lake Lodge is another option for a lunch or dinner stop on your adventure. Known for its Prime Rib and homemade cobblers, the food is tasty and the atmosphere is relaxing. Call ahead of time to be sure they’re open on your adventure day and to make a reservation if necessary.

Paulina Lake Hot SpringsIf you’re up for a bit of a hike and a hot spring adventure head to the Little Crater Campground and find parking at the Lakeshore Loop Trail trailhead at the far end of the campground. Take a two-mile walk along the east shore of the lake to find Hot Springs Beach. Find these primitive hot springs at the north end of the beach right on the shoreline. Hunker down into one of the log lined hot springs, enjoy the views and the minerals and remember to leave no trace please!

Paulina Creek Falls:

Big Obsidian Flow - Paulina Peak

After exploring Paulina and East lakes and when you are heading back towards Sunriver, plan on just two more stops. First, you will see signs for the Paulina Creek Falls. Upon parking, find a paved trail and walk a quarter mile to the top of the falls and enjoy the thrill of looking over the 80 foot tall falls. Take another portion of path down to the bottom and you’ll be able to see the falls from below. Watch the pair of falls flow onto the rocky ground below from two viewing areas. Be sure to carry your camera with you on this beautiful walk!

Viewpoint:

Newberry Volcano ViewpointAs you head back to your cozy Sunriver vacation rental after a long day of exploring, be sure to make one last stop at the viewpoint just down the road and on the opposite side as the falls. If you’ve soaked up the whole day exploring the caldera, you may be lucky enough to make this stop at sunset to watch the sun sink behind the Cascade mountains creating a palette of colors that seem indescribable.

Still planning your Sunriver stay? Be sure to book your vacation rental as soon as you can to take advantage of the widest selection and best pricing.

Day Trip – Hike the Fall River Trail

Are you looking for a hike that is close to Sunriver? Perhaps you need a trail that is kid-friendly. Then this is the hike you are looking for. The Fall River Trail is great for those of all skill levels.

I recently walked this trail with my 4 year old and 4 month old sons. My 4 year old strapped on his helmet, hopped onto his Strider bike and cruised on down the trail, no problem. We fell behind a bit, as I unfolded the stroller and secured the car seat in, but easily caught up once moving. The well-maintained trail is quite easy with a stroller. Take note that as you begin descending, the trail feels a bit narrow and slightly slanted (while pushing a stroller). Don’t let that scare you away, however, the rest is very doable.

To get here, drive out of Sunriver and, at the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto S. Century Drive. Turn left onto S. Century Drive after .6 miles. After 3.1 miles, turn right to stay on S. Century Drive. Drive up this road for 7.8 miles and you will see a parking area on the left. Park here and you will see the trail to the right of the parking area. It’s quite easy to find and so worth it!

Once you park, you’ll notice a winding and strikingly clear river below. This is the Fall River. It’s breathtaking in its beauty and temperature. This is not the water you’ll want to jump into on a hot summer day, but it is sure lovely to look at.

Fall River Trail - Sunriver OregonAs you weave along the trail, you’ll be able to enjoy the sights and smells of the red bark on the toweringPonderosas all around you, hear the birds chirping and the squirrels rattling the leaves as they race each other through the forest. If you are lucky, you may even spot a deer along the trail. The trail does parallel the highway in some spots, but it is far enough away that the occasional car does not intrude on your nature experience.

Fall River Trail - Sunriver OregonRemember your snacks or pack a picnic. There are some off-shoots of the trail that lead to the river banks with some flat dry areas for sitting and enjoying the sound of the water streaming by. If your young ones want an additional challenge, give them a list of treasures to find.

Our list went as follows:

  • A full pinecone
  • An eaten pinecone
  • A stick with a purpose (a walking stick, or one that resembles a wand or a sword… pretty easy, eh?)
  • A stick with moss attached
  • A smooth rock
  • A lava rock
  • Trash x 3
note: Here’s some good news. We couldn’t find a single piece of trash. We brought the amount to find down to 1 to make it easier. Still nothing. We ended up tossing a wrapper from our snacks next to us so that our son felt like he completed the list. (Don’t tell him!)
  • BONUS: A deer (we were not fortunate enough to spot one on this outing)

Overall, this was such a nice hike. It even rained on us a bit, but we didn’t mind. We felt sheltered by the forest and revitalized by our hike and time together.
If you are planning a trip to Central Oregon soon, be sure to check out our list of vacation rentals. From any of these, you’ll be close to this trail and SO much more!