Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lava Cast Forest

Part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, this one mile trail gets you up close and personal with the results of volcanic lava flows.

Drive south of Bend to Cottonwood Rd., 14.8 miles on Hwy. 97. This route is temporary while work continues at the Sunriver exchange. Bright orange signs show the detour route. Brown signs take over once you reach the detour’s end. Travel eleven miles from the highway, most of it over a gravel road to road’s end. As this is a fee site, a Forest Pass or Golden Age Passport is necessary. A day pass can be purchased on site and picnic tables are available for a quick lunch.

The paved path begins from the top of the parking area at the end of the road and we recommend that you start here because of the layout of the path. Be sure to pick up a brochure for the interpretative markers along the trail.

This trail could be named the Sensory Trail. Sights include the lava molds and the bleached and twisted remains of trees that temporarily survived the lava outpouring. You will also see Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, Broken Top and the northwest rim of Newberry Crater. Listen to the breeze sigh through the trees, the metallic clink of volcanic stones striking together and the songs of rock wren. Smell the ponderosa forest, fresh air at elevation and the occasional whiff of flowering wild currant. Even on a cool morning, feel the heat waves off the black rock. Run your fingers over the smoothed surface of lava re-melted in the fiery revenge of burning trees sent to their grave by the onslaught.

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