Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail

Central Oregon, Oregon

Start Exploring
Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail

Share:

Advertisement
  • Lava Cast Forest Day Use Area at the trailhead.- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Grand fir (Abies grandis).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • - Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • - Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Ground juniper (Juniperus communis).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • - Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Gray rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • - Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • A hollow core that was left behind as lava cooled around an ancient tree.- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
  • A hollow core that was left behind as lava cooled around an ancient tree.- Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Insightful interpretive information. Kid-friendly access. Geologic history.
Cons: 
Long, rough gravel access road.
Advertisement
Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
60.00 ft (18.29 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,750.00 ft (1,752.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

In 1942 the Forest Service established the Lava Cast Forest Geologic Area, approximately 5 square-miles of landscape that is completely dominated by a 6,000 year-old basalt lava flow, the remains of the forest that once was, and vegetation that tirelessly struggles to rebuild a forest once again.

Although the difficult access includes 9 miles on a bumpy gravel road, this paved interpretive loop justifies the journey with unusually educational insights into the powerful impact of volcanic activity.  This lava flow burned though and decimated an ancient forest as it oozed downhill from a fissure on Newberry Volcano's northwest slope.  That forest was once dominated by massive old-growth ponderosa pines, a species that is heavily reliant upon and well adapted to forest fire.  Some individual specimens were so large that the lava flow wasn't able to knock them down.  Instead, the flow would surround the tree, and as the tree burned with resistance, the lava would solidify around it, creating a Lava Cast Forest.

The forest is still composed of ponderosa pines, but the rugged landscape is also host to the occasional white fir, lodgepole pine, ground juniper, gray rabbitbrush, and magenta Cusick's monkeyflower.  Enjoy this walk, and keep your eyes peeled for relics in this living exhibit.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(37 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(80 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
37 Members
Who's Done It
39 Members
Submission by
Team
1260 Adventures Explored
1258 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info