Lodge located on the shores of Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Beautiful family + four-legged friendly campsite right on the lake. I stayed at site #56 which was great b/c it is away from the main road and right next to the Paulina lake loop trail.
The 7-mile loop around the lake was stunning w/views at every corner. The trail was lined with beautiful obsidian. Hike in about 3.5 miles and you’ll be able to soak in the hot springs and take a dip in the lake. Trail was pretty flat so definitely kid + dog friendly.
Make sure to check out the obsidian flow on your way out.
I will definitely camp here again. Bring your own wood if you have the room. There is one person who sells wood here and they never seemed to be open.
Great campground! Spaces are large, but kind of close together. Larger size campground on the lake, just across from the resort. Plenty of trees to hang hammocks! $18 per night for a tent site. Campground has a boat ramp and dock as well.
I took one star off due to the bathroom situation. For some reason their bathrooms are out of service at the moment. However they do provide porta potties.
About 25 miles south of Bend, Oregon, Paulina and East Lakes are twin calderas located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument area of the Deschutes National Forest that have an amazing amount of fun things to do including camping, fishing, paddle boarding, boating, hiking, biking and hot springs.
We pulled into the Paulina Visitor Center just before 5pm on the Fourth of July to scope out our walk-up camping options (we didn’t make reservations) and the rangers let us know that Paulina Lake Campground still had two or three spots open, or we could keep on heading to Cinder Hill on East Lake, which had several spots. The East Lake campground, they said, was pretty much always full, so no need to stop there to check.
We ended up grabbing a great spot at Paulina Lake Campground even though it was a holiday weekend. Large camp sites, lots of trees, flush toilets, and access to Paulina Lake all made this a great spot for camping.
There’s tons to do in the area. My two favorites were the hot springs near East Lake boat ramp (when facing the water, walk left about 8 minutes along the shore line…pass the first couple spots until you get to a good one around two bends) and the trail up Obsidian Butte. There’s also a lodge nearby with delicious food (homemade rum butter apple cobbler…yum) and the beautiful Paulina Falls day use area. We’ll definitely be heading back to spend more time here, next time maybe with some paddle boards.
The main down side to this site is there doesn’t appear to be specific hours for generators, so they can run loudly whenever.
Parking. You’ll need a day pass ($5) to park at various day use areas at the lakes, but if you have a National Park Pass it will get you in for free. Ask at the Visitor Center and they can give you a holder to hang your pass from your rear view mirror.
Firewood: Unlike many national and state parks, you can harvest camp firewood for free here, which is pretty awesome. Check with the rangers at the visitor center, but the rules are pretty basic (pick up dead wood instead of chopping it down, etc.).
Other Area Campgrounds. If you’re looking for reservations and Paulina Lake is booked up, they hold many of their sites for “walk-ups” only. There’s also several other campgrounds in the area, both private and public, if for some reason Paulina Lake is full.
From West (at the Visitor Center) to East, campgrounds and cabins on the lakes include:
Paulina Lodge (Private I believe. All cabins, some right on the water).
Paulina Lake Campground (this campground review. No beach but does have a boat dock and water access)
Newberry Group Camp Site. Three group sites. $75-$100. Didn’t stay here but looked fun.
Little Crater Campground. Didn’t visit, but listed as one of the“most popular” campgrounds in the entire Deschutes Forest. Books up Thursday for most weekends.
East Lake Campground. Great lake views from most spots and flush toilets.
East Lake RV Park. Newer, clean but somewhat cramped and dusty.
East Lake Resort Cabins. (Homey in a good way).
Cinder Hill Campground, East Lake. Some sites are better than others. Amazing beach.
Product Review: Firebiner by Outdoor Element
On our recent trip to Paulina Lake we got to try out several products by Outdoor Element, including their Firebiner, in exchange for our reviews. The firebiner is a carabiner with a "spark wheel" that can start fires and also includes a bottle opener, screwdriver tip, and a very sharp tiny blade for cutting strings and other lines (like fishing lines):
The whole concept is pretty cool, and we had extra fun with the "EverSpark" technology trying to get the fires started. Nearly every time we turned the wheel it sparked, but we quickly learned the power of having a good "tinder" (a dry bit of material used for starting a fire). When we tried starting fires with items such as dry moss, napkins, or small kindling, the sparks didn't catch. But when we used the tiny "Tinder Quicks" from Outdoor element, we normally could start a fire within 2-3 turns. We even tried other options for tinders…from corn chips to cotton balls covered in Vaseline, and as long as the tinder was good, the sparks caught quickly.
Overall, a fun addition to our camping packs. The carabiner itself is handy for keys and hanging on backpacks and probably the element we'll use most, while the Spark Wheel is a fun, handy back-up when we need to light something on fire.
Nice spot for families and kids! Good fishing and great way to have fun!! Nice calming spot!
The main boat ramp has a lot of lake grass and floating snails. Kind of weird when getting into my kayak, but was fine once you get into the actual lake….you don’t get tangled in. Lake was beautiful and clear…could almost always see the bottom. The park was very clean, and felt restful and quiet. Large spaces. Clean bathrooms, but no showers. Would have to go next door to East Lake for that. Needs more gray water dump areas, I noticed. Loved it there. Would definitely go back again, but would want a lakeside spot. We were next to the main road in the back, but heard ZERO traffic. I just like seeing the water, so would like lakeside. Loved the little chipmunks! The Paulina Falls were beautiful…a bit of a short hike down to them and back up from the parking lot….and can hike there from the campgrounds, not very far. The Obsidian Flow area was very close, and well worth doing. To hike to the top, wear good shoes and long pants. Very easy to accidentally cut yourself on the sharp obsidian rocks. Need sure footing toward the top, but trails are clear. Beautiful views, and you’ll be in awe of how big this natural area is, and how it happened.
We back packed into Paulina Crater from a camp ground further out which ended up being a 12 mile hike in. From there we found cleared site on the west side of the west lake which had beautiful views of the volcano itself. From there the next day you can hike to the north side of the lake for the hot springs which are hand dug out. If you really want some services there is a camp site on the east side of the west lake and in the east lake there is some boating and services. Beautiful place would love to go back.
We did come on a weekend and it was packed. We had planned on staying at East lake and ended up snagging the last spot here. Of the major campgrounds around the lake paulina is my least favorite. Great if you are there to fish, nice boat dock area, many of the site are big enough for boats, rvs, trucks. Bring ear plugs if your a light sleeper. Right at dawn all the loud diesel trucks start up and head out to fish. The bathrooms where kept clean and stocked our entire stay. The camp host was helpful and knew the area. There was a shortage of firewood though. This is the one campground that does not have a good swimming area. Kayaking and boating is a great start point. For swimming I would head to little crater day use area or better yet up to east lake it has a better beach. The water is warm and there is so much to do in the area.
Beautiful campsite on the lake. I love Newberry Caldera. Lots of cool hikes around. Cool lakes you can hike or paddle around to hot springs. Quieter than some of the areas in Bend.
This campground has the most beautiful location. Right along the lake which is a collapsed volcano. There are plenty of hikes nearby that go into the woods and also all around the lake. Just be aware of what time you go. We stayed in late June and the bugs were terrible. Make sure to plan for a later season stay or bring a head net with you.
We decided to tag along last minute to Paulina lake. We where able to get in with no reservation. The campground is huge and beautiful. Easy access to the lake. Small hike all over the place. Nice big camp spots. Bathrooms are ok.