Newberry National Volcanic Monument is truly one of the undiscovered gems of Oregon, particularly in winter. To access this winter wonderland you’ll have to ski, snowshoe or snowmobile in because the road leading up to the caldera is only maintained as far as Ten Mile Sno-Park. For those who like to avoid the noise and smell of two-stroke engines, use the designated ski and snowshoe trail that winds through lodgepole and ponderosa pines to the beautiful, icy cascades of Paulina Falls and tranquil Paulina Lake.
To make this snowshoe or ski adventure truly spectacular, make a loop of the trail by returning on the other side of Paulina Creek. Once you’ve reached the Falls, head toward Paulina Lake Resort and turn left (back downhill) after the bridge. This trail on the north side of the creek is rarely used in the winter, and it provides a far more intimate experience with the creek and all of its cascades.
Additionally, consider making this an overnight adventure. You can either pack-in to Paulina Lake Resort or ski an additional three miles to the other side of the lake for a completely secluded experience snow camping next to Paulina Lake Hot Springs.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.