DescriptionDeschutes National Forest is southwest of Bend on US 97, north of Crater Lake National Park on the eastern slope of the Cascades. The third-largest national forest in Oregon and one of the most popular, it is comprised of heavily forested land and volcanic landscapes. The forest's several areas of past volcanic activity are easily accessible from US 97.
The Newberry National Volcanic Monument area contains several volcanic features, including nearby Lava River Cave, one of the longest uncollapsed lava tubes in the Northwest. The cave was once the pathway of an underground stream of molten rock. Molten lava also formed the Lava Cast Forest Geological Area as it engulfed a forest. Lava Lands Visitor Center sits at the base of Lava Butte Cone. The 7,000-year-old cone's lava flow once dammed the Deschutes River.
To the south lies Newberry Crater; its two lakes, obsidian (black glass) lava flow and crater-rim waterfalls are part of a volcano that encompasses 600 square miles. The landscape of the volcano has been created over the last 500,000 years. Archeological excavations conducted in the crater led to the discovery of one of the oldest houses in the Western Hemisphere. Studies show that the inhabitants hunted bears, deer, rabbits and bison.
The area's past volcanism provides numerous recreational opportunities for hikers and climbers, and the more than 200 lakes and miles of streams challenge anglers. Diamond Peak, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters wilderness areas offer hikers terrain ranging from rugged volcanic landscapes to alpine meadows and waterfalls.
Horses for pack and saddle trips are available locally. A number of areas throughout the forest offer downhill and cross-country skiing and permit snowmobiling. A chairlift goes to the middle of the 9,065-foot Mount Bachelor peak in the summer. A day-use pass for all Deschutes National Forest sites is $5 (per private vehicle, May-Sept.); free (rest of year). For information and permits contact the Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest, 63095 Deschutes Market Rd., Bend, OR 97701; phone (541) 383-5300..
Things to SeeCascade Lakes Highwaysee Bend.