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Get a birds-eye-view of all the beauty Newberry National Volcanic Monument has to offer on this gorgeous 21-mile loop. We recommend starting at the parking lot across the street from the visitor center and running the loop counter-clockwise.
The first 3 miles, climbing up Paulina Peak, are the toughest miles, but it feels best to get this 1,600 foot climb done with early. The Crater Rim Trail doesn’t take you to the top of Paulina Peak, so we highly recommend taking a left turn onto Paulina Peak Trail at mile 3. It’s less than 1/4 mile to summit Paulina Peak and the views are so worth it! Standing at 7,989’, enjoy the panoramic mountain views stretching from Mount Shasta to Mount Hood, beautiful Paulina & East Lakes, and the massive Obsidian Lava Flow below.
Hop back on the Crater Rim Trail and enjoy a 9-mile stretch of mostly downhill, speedy singletrack. The Lupine wildflowers are stunning in the summer and you’ll see a lot of shiny obsidian rocks sprinkled across the trails on this section. Around mile 12.5, you’ll come across an opening in the trees called the “Big Cinder Hill Viewpoint.” This viewpoint has the best view of East Lake on the loop, and it’s very rewarding to look back at Paulina Peak knowing you climbed that big peak!
From miles 12.5-16.5, you gradually climb 500 feet and enter a denser forest setting. After topping out this climb, enjoy one last view of Paulina Peak before you tuck back into the trees and cruise downhill for the final 4 miles. Wrap up your adventure with food or drinks at Paulina Lake Lodge or take a dip in Paulina Lake. You earned it!