Trail Around Paulina Lake – Bend, OR

Bend, OR

In a previous blog we wrote about a visit to the Newberry Caldera, located in a section of the Newberry National Volcano Monument about 30 miles south of Bend.  The Caldera was formed when a magma chamber collapsed and over time it filled up with water creating two lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake.  A couple days ago we drove back to the area to hike the Paulina Lake Shore Loop Trail, a 7.5 mile hike along the shoreline of Paulina Lake.

As we hiked along the south shore of the lake the trail stayed very near the water and made its way through some snow and over a few very wet areas of recent snow melt.

Park information recommended hiking the trail in a counter-clockwise direction for the best views of nearby Paulina Peak.  We began to question that strategy during the first half of the hike, but as we rounded the lake and began to head west the snow covered peak began to come into view.

As we rounded the north side of the lake we went through an obsidian flow.   The area was filled with interesting pieces of obsidian.

Just a short distance further we came to an area of hot springs that help feed the lake.  A few small areas along the shore have been dug out and enclosed with tree limbs.

We checked out the water in one of the dug out areas and found it to be too hot to keep our hands in.  The water in the lake near the hot springs was quite comfortable compared to the rest of the lake.

We found that the hike back on the west side of the lake provided constant views of Paulina Peak.

While a bit long at 7.5 miles, this hike has only 200 ft of elevation gain (a go-around along the west shore) and has some beautiful scenery.  We really enjoyed it . . .

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39 Responses to Trail Around Paulina Lake – Bend, OR

  1. jessieworley says:

    Beautiful pictures! I recently went climbing in Oregon near Bend and have never climbed in a more beautiful place! I definitely need to take a trip down more often

  2. Looks very peaceful with hot springs.

  3. pmbweaver says:

    You two are finding the most gorgeous places in and around Bend. I am really enjoying reading about this area. Your photos are fabulous. I love the reflection photos.
    I would never guess there would be a hot spring up there. Adds a little mystery to the hike. Love it.

  4. You find the most amazing hikes! The scenery on this one is spectacular! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jim and Barb says:

    I was curious when you said how these lakes were formed……according to the government websight Paulina Lake is over 250 feet deep with an average depth of 163 feet that is incredible. I bet that water was very clear! East Lake is a very popular fishing lake with Brown Trout up to 10#’s! What a beautiful area….

    • placestheygo says:

      You are right about the depth, Jim. Hard to believe the lake is so deep because it isn’t that big. The water is very clear which kept me mesmerized as we walked the rim. We sat on a little cliff area and watched a fish trying to keep other fish out of his area while one fish (we assume a female guarding eggs) sat over the spot. He worked so hard chasing various fish away. Poor guy was going to be exhausted. East Lake is just as beautiful as Paulina Lake.

  6. Sure have learned a lot about the Bend, OR area while you guys are hiking around! Are the long sleeves and pants for warmth or mosquitoes??

    • placestheygo says:

      We were in mosquito dress, Janna! After our Lava Lakes hike I thought we might see them. We never saw any mosquitoes though. We were glad we wore the extra clothes because the first half of the hike was quite chilly in the shade.

  7. Sue says:

    Love the look of this hike. And one wouldn’t even have to do the entire loop to enjoy what it has to offer. On my list!

  8. We camped at a site right on Paulina Lake in Little Crater campground and hiked that trail. Such a pretty spot. I, too, wondered about mosquitoes, as we had quite a few while we were there in July.

    • placestheygo says:

      We were dressed for the mosquitoes, but we never saw a one. The clothing came in handy though because it was quite chilly for the first half of the hike. We stopped and had lunch at a picnic table in a site right on the lake in that campground. We remarked how the site was long enough for our MH. Great campground!

  9. The campsites along the lake are so pretty! Glad you found the hot springs…it’s quite the reminder that you are in a volcanic area!

    • placestheygo says:

      The campsites are great. All they need is electric and they would be perfect! We could have even fit in the site we used for lunch. Actually seeing the hot spring area was interesting.

  10. Sherry says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous hike. Your photographs are stunning of the lake and the snow covered mountains. The hot spring surprised me. Wonder if folks swim there later in the season? I take it this is part of the National Monument? The monuments have been one of our biggest surprises on the road. We have found them to be really wonderful. Thanks for showing me this one.

    • placestheygo says:

      It was a beautiful area to hike. I would imagine there is probably quite a bit of swimming all around the lake but especially here by the hot springs since the water is so clear.and warm. Yes, this lake is in the National Monument.

  11. exploRVistas says:

    Loving your hikes in Bend, Pam! We never knew the area was so beautiful!

  12. Gay says:

    Great hike…love all the views and the pieces of obsidian. I can see why it’s a favorite!

  13. Wow, I had heard good things about Bend before, but I’d only seen a handful of photos. What a gorgeous place! And with the added benefit of all those breweries, I think we’ll enjoy it quite a bit!

  14. Debbie L says:

    Wow, how absolutely beautiful! Those hot springs would be inviting.
    So I had to laugh when we took our spontaneous hike after our 300 mile drive…in such a hurry to get in a hike, didn’t spray or cover up much…the mosquitoes had a blast with me. Remember I mentioned we never go out at dusk??? Best laid plans. The weather in Bend looks too delicious for mosquitoes!

    • placestheygo says:

      Dusk and summer in the east only mean one thing!!! Mosquitoes!! We didn’t have any of those little buggers on any of our hikes except the Lava Lakes. But we were prepared just in case!

  15. Oh I would love to do this hike! In case we get back to Bend, just n case you have shown us the trails we have not done. Beautiful reflections shots.

  16. Jodee Gravel says:

    Great shot of seeing the first peek of the peak along the trail! The water is so pretty and clear, what a great hike.

  17. Laurel says:

    Sweet hike! We’ll add this to our list when we spend more time in Bend. It sounds like the counter clockwise direction was the way to go.

  18. LuAnn says:

    We too hiked around Paulina Lake when we were in Bend. Love those reflection shots.

  19. geogypsy2u says:

    Great views around the lake. Love the obsidian. The hot springs couldn’t even be found when I was there last.

    • placestheygo says:

      This was such a beautiful hike. The color of the water was gorgeous. It kept me entertained. The hot springs were strange. I guess you could dig anywhere along the shore in that area and you would get steaming hot water.

  20. whatastreel says:

    Rewatching Game of Thrones so fun to see a reference to obsidian! Playing catchup hope you are having a great summer!

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