I’ve been on the road for a while, showing off the Pacific Northwest to author and dear friend, Stephen F. Kaufman. This summer I invited him out west for a whirlwind tour of some of the best that the Northwest offers. I had promised him that I would take him to Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, and that is exactly what I did. From the Seattle/Tacoma area, it’s best to divide up the travel time into two days, since Crater Lake is located in southern Oregon, in the Cascades. The quickest route for us was a straight line down Interstate 5 to Roseburg, Oregon, spending the night there. Roseburg is a gateway to Crater Lake. Early the next morning, we traveled east from Roseburg, on Highway 138. This is one of the most scenic highways in southern Oregon, as it follows the wild and scenic Umpqua River through dense forests. There’s plenty of waterfalls along the way, too. Some of the waterfalls are close to the highway; some are only accessible via hiking trails. Here is an image of Clearwater Falls, located just off Hwy 138. Lots of lush, green moss and surrounding forest with this one!
Just before Crater Lake National Park is Diamond Lake Resort, a big, beautiful, sparkling blue lake. There is a rest area along the highway across from the resort that gives one a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding landscape. Just a bit further down the road is the turn-off to the national park. This is my third time visiting Crater Lake. Each time I am awed as if it was the first time. The sapphire blue color of the lake is what draws all the attention. Crater Lake sits atop Mount Mazama. Here are a few images.
After spending time at Crater Lake, we traveled north through the Central Oregon high desert country. The main highway that runs north-south is Hwy 97. This highway takes one through some of the most spectacular landscape scenery in Oregon.
Our next stop was at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. If you are into geology or volcanology, this region is a must visit! The Newberry volcano has the largest volcanic system in the Northwest Cascades. Its system extends a few hundred miles. And yes, it is an active volcano, but not posing any danger in the immediate future, as it is closely monitored. It has an active magma chamber that feeds into natural hot springs in its caldera. There are two lakes that fill its collapsed caldera: Paulina Lake and East Lake. One can drive up to the lakes, which is a recreational area. Beware that one needs a National Forest Service Pass to access this area, which can be purchased at the ranger station along the road that winds up the volcano’s side. Along the way to the summit, there is the Big Obsidian Flow, just off to the right of the road. This is a must see. Watch for the sign. It is the largest obsidian flow in the continental US. There is a 1-mile loop trail up and through this fantastic and eerie landscape. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes or boots, as the pumice and obsidian is quite rough and sharp. A walking stick or trekking poles helps, too. And whatever you do, don’t forget the camera or videocam. From atop the obsidian flow, you will get some jaw-dropping views of the surrounding landscape and caldera lakes. You will need a National Forest Service Pass for this area, as well. Here are a few images I took while at the obsidian field.
Further up north on Hwy 97 is Lava Butte, in the Lava Lands, which is still part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument. This is a big cinder cone (vent) of the volcano that one can drive up to the top. There is also a visitor center. And yes, this is a fee area, as well, but be aware that one pass lets you access all areas in the volcanic monument for the whole day. There is also the Lava Cast Forest and the Lava River Cave in the same area, but we did not choose to visit these during our travels at this time. Here at Lava Butte, one can view more lava fields for miles around, as well as walking on trails through them. It’s really something else! Be aware that this region is in the high desert and gets very warm in the summer. It is best to access these exposed trails during the cooler morning hours. Here are some images from Lava Butte and the Lava Lands trails.
After spending the night in the vibrant city of Bend, we headed north to the Columbia River Gorge on our return home to Washington. We whizzed by Mount Hood and snapped a few quick shots. It was a bit hazy from forest fire smoke in the region. Here is one of the images I took.
We spent the night at Cascade Locks and then had brunch at Multnomah Falls Lodge. Here’s an image I snapped of the historic lodge and a partial view of the falls.
As long as we were in the scenic gorge area, Steve asked if we could go to the top of the gorge to get a nice view of the Columbia River. We stopped at Crown Point, a popular tourist destination. Here is the view we saw.
And that, my dear friends, was my latest travels. I hope it was an enjoyable and educational experience for all.
All photos copyright of Peggy A Thompson