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map of Oregon showing location of Lava Butte

The two RV Gypsies drove
to Lava Butte
and hiked to the Ranger's Lookout
August 3, 2013

Lava Butte is a cinder cone located in central Oregon, USA, just west of US Highway 97 between the towns of Bend, Oregon, and Sunriver, Oregon. It is part of a system of small cinder cones on the northwest flank of Newberry Volcano, a massive shield volcano which rises to the southeast. The cinder cone is capped by a crater which extends about 60 feet deep beneath its south rim, and 160 feet deep from the 5,020 feet summit on its north side. Lava Butte is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Lava Lands Visitor Center sign

a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Lava Lands Visitor Center sign
a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

The two RV Gypsies drove their toad to the top of Lava Butte for a spectacular view of Central Oregon (Butte parking was limited to 10 spaces, so FREE 30-minute time passes were issued on a first come, first served basis at the Center's Welcome Station. It's important that visitors pay attention to the arrival time on their pass.

panorama of the dirive to the top of Lava Butte

On the drive up to the top of Lava Butte, mounds of lava flow were seen everywhere.

mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow
mounds of lava flow

The two RV Gypsies stopped to photograph the mounds of lava flow on the way to the top of Lava Butte.

Lee Duquette
the road to the top of Lava Butte

The two RV Gypsies arrived at the parking lot and took time to read and photograph the sign about Lava Butte.

the sign about Lava Butte

Like the other cinder cones in the area, Lava Butte only experienced a single eruption, dated by geologists in 1977 to about 7,000 years ago. The eruption began with a fissure spewing hot cinders to form the cone. In the next phase, a river of hot basalt flowed from the base of the small volcano to cover a large area to the west with a lava flow which remains largely free of vegetation. The lava flows reached the Deschutes River about 2.5 miles to the west of the cone, burying its former channel under over 100 feet of lava and damming the river to form a lake, known as Lake Benham. The river eventually overflowed the lava dam and eroded down into it, draining the lake and forming Benham Falls. (There is a link to photos at Benham Falls at the bottom of this page). Geologists estimate that 90% of the magma erupted as lava flows, 9% as scoria which forms the cone, and 1% as volcanic ash which forms a thin layer extending to the north.

Above quote From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

sign at the begiing of the Lava Butte Trail

It was not a real clear day when these photos were taken, but the black lava flow far below can still be seen.

black lava flow far below
black lava flow far below
view from Lava Butte

Lee Duquette took photos from part way up Lava Butte

Lee Duquette taking photos from part way up Lava Butte
view from from part way up Lava Butte
Lee Duquette on Lava Butte
part of the cinder cone on Lava Butte

Below: The Cinder Cone and the working Fire Lookout atop Lava Butte. This is where the two RV Gypsies hiked to. Although it was only 1/4 of a mile, the trail was very steep and seemed so much longer then one-fourth of a mile.

Karen Duquette on the trail to the top of Lava Butte
the working Fire Lookout atop Lava Butte
the working Fire Lookout atop Lava Butte

A cinder covered trail encircles the rim of the cone. 

A cinder covered trail encircles the rim of the cone
Karen Duquette on the trail to the top of Lava Butte

outstanding views from the rim of the cone

view from the rim of the cone
white tree branches

Approaching the half-way mark around the trail

Aproaching the half-way mark around the trail
view from the rim of the cone

The two RV Gypsies finally made it to the top of Lava Butte. It was a short, but steep and exhausting hike.

Lava Butte Elevation 5,020

Looking down from the Lava Butte sign, the center of the cinder cone could be seen. The trail looped that entire center and was quite an exhausting hike even though it is a nice trail, because the uphill section was very steep.

Lee duquette at the Lava Butte sign
the center of the cinder cone

Views in different directions from the top of Lava Butte

View of the Three Sisters mountain tops
view of a road far below Lava Butte

View of the Three Sisters Mountain tops

View of the Three Sisters mountain tops

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continue on to the next Adventure in Washington stateContinue viewing the two RV Gypsies' adventures in Oregon in the order they occurred - Benham Falls in Sunriver, Oregon
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