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Paulina Peak Hiking Trail

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
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  • Forest of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana).- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View looking down at Paulina Lake.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • Green manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula).- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View looking toward Paulina Peak (7,989').- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • Shruby lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) along the trail near the summit.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View of Newberry Volcano's caldera, including Paulina Lake, the Big Obsidian Flow, and East Lake.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View south to Fort Rock.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View west toward Diamond Peak (8,743').- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View looking down to the deep opal waters of Paulina Lake.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View southeast toward Newberry Volcano's numerous buttes and cinder cones.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View of Mount Bachelor (9,068'), Broken Top (9,177') and the Three Sisters.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
  • View of Mount Bachelor (9,068'), Broken Top (9,177') and the Three Sisters.- Paulina Peak Hiking Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Panoramic vistas. Nearby camping, hikes, and hot springs.
Cons: 
Vehicles also drive up to the summit.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,460.00 ft (445.01 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,530.00 ft (1,990.34 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Few short hikes offer such expansive and panoramic views.  Starting through a forest of mountain hemlock, white fir, and lodgpole pine, this hike quickly climbs above tree line and follows an escarpment to the top of the largest volcano in Oregon. At 7,989 feet, Paulina Peak may be Newberry Volcano's highest point, but it remains significantly shorter than the nearby peaks of the Cascade's main range.  At 80 cubic miles in volume and 20 miles in diameter, however, the mountain is the fifth* largest in the entire Cascade Volcanic Arc.

From the summit you can see roughly one-quarter of the entire state, with western views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Diamond Peak, and Mount Thielsen, northeastern views of the Ochoco Mountains and Christmas Valley, and southern views of Fort Rock.  What you will also notice, beyond the spectacular views of the volcano's depressed caldera, are plenty of other visitors.  For better or worse, a gravel road leads up to the summit, making Paulina Peak a very popular and accessible destination.

Notably, Paulina Peak was once the home of a Forest Service lookout tower, hence the gravel road, but the tower was ultimately removed in 1968.

*The volcanic matter at Medicine Lake Volcano (7,921') in northern California has been estimated at 140 cubic miles in volume.  Mount Shasta, Mount Adams, and Mount Rainier are all roughly 85 cubic miles, with Mount Shasta being the largest stratovolcano in the Cascades.  Newberry Volcano is estimated at 80 cubic miles.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(22 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(58 within a 30 mile radius)

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