Big Obsidian Flow Trail

EASY 48 reviews
#21 of 128 trails in

Big Obsidian Flow Trail is a 0.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near La Pine, Oregon that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from June until October.

0.6 miles
196 feet

kid friendly


nature trips




historic site

no dogs

A very unique hike through an obsidian lava flow beneath Paulina Peak in Newberry Crater, Oregon. Throughout the flow, there are interpretive signs telling the history of the area, from the eruption 1,300 years ago, to the colonization of plants and animals, to the use of the glass by native tribes and its trade throughout the west. You'll have great views up to the top of Paulina Peak above you and across Paulina Lake.

10 days ago

Such a unique trail! Be sure to wear hiking boots!

2 months ago

Made a quick visit to Big Obsidian Flow. It's set up for tourists as one of several volcanic attractions in the Newberry Caldera between Bend and La Pine. Since I've seen it many times before, I quickly walked through, passing up a number of people along the way. Worth the visit if you haven't seen it. It's illegal to take rocks with you, no matter how tempting the beautiful obsidian is. It's a short loop that most people can handle, and the illustrated signs are fascinating. They should really consider renaming it to Big Obsidian PhLo.

2 months ago

Obsidian! Easy trek with beautiful views. My second trip up.

2 months ago

Amazing views of chaotic lava flows.

4 months ago

Beautiful and fascinating place.

6 months ago

Fascinating place and an easy trail for creatures who wear boots. Four stars only because the trail was short and I wanted to see more. The way the flora got a root-hold in the landscape was both inspiring and beautiful. We visited in mid-June on a sunny and warm day. Be ready for the three variations of rock to heat up fast in midday and it reflects a lot of light so take sunscreen even for the short jaunt. Definitely a place for closed toe shoes, keep an eye on little kiddos, and please do not bring doggos - I don't think they make tough enough dog-boots for this particular trail. I witnessed one hiker carrying his adult yellow lab on his shoulders, they best place for him if he couldn't stay home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Love it. Hiking through lava is an amazing experience. Footing can be a little rough. leave dogs home. this stuff is sharp.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

interesting, beautiful. a must see when visiting the area,

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Really awesome views!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Unique experience. Lots of pretty obsidian rocks to look and pet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

obsidian was a geological wonder. hike was easy but wear substantial shoes

Sunday, June 05, 2016

This place is pretty neat! Anyone passing through this area must see this. Just Awesome!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

If you have an interest in geology then this place is a must. We found the Obsidian Flow fascinating and the interpretive signs very informative.
There is one thing you should be warned about however; this is NOT dog friendly and there is a warning sign advising you of same at the car park. This is due to the sharpness of rocks on the trail.
Though only short, the walk isn't easy, more your moderate grade. It's uphill and, at times, on rocky tracks.
The view from the top, while good, isn't as expansive over the lakes as you might expect. However, don't go for the views is my advice, go for the experience.
I had pictures to go with this but can't work out how to enter them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Spectacular- it is like walking on a different planet. Worth the drive!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Beautiful landscape and view. Nice quick easy hike

Friday, September 05, 2014

Unique and beautiful. Great view of Paulina Lake. Fun to see the different forms of earth from the lava rocks, and pumice to the obsidian. Lots of information about it all as well!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Incredibly unique hiking experience and the views are spectacular. DO NOT WALK YOUR DOGS ON THIS TRAIL unless you have boots for them. Obsidian is sharp like glass and their pads will get cut and retain tiny slivers of obsidian.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beautiful view in early spring. A little treacherous in icy weather.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This was a really interesting walk, the view was incredible and the hike itself fairly easy. Lots of good geological history!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I think we hiked this trail on the last day of the season before the park closed according to the park telephone hotline and the fact that all resorts, the visitors center and the park kiosk where they usually take your money were all closed. We drove right in to the parking lot of the trailhead surrounded by a few inches of snow that had fallen a few days before. Outside temperature was 34 degrees but that did not stop us. The trail is paved for a few hundred feet before you reach the metal staircase that takes you up to meet the trail proper. As the name of the trail indicates, this is a massive two hundred foot high outpouring of various volcanic rock types. Obsidian is a major component and the huge black glass boulders are just spectacular. The upper trail is rocky but can be negotiated in normal shoes if you watch your step. A nice view of Pauline Lake can be seen from the top and most likely a view of Pauline Peak as well but today it was shrouded in cloud cover. There were many other hikers on the trail today and gathering by the size of the parking lot, this trail is heavily used in the summer months. I'm sure the views are much more colorful when the landscape isn't covered in snow but there is a certain beauty this time of year withe the white snow contrasting against the black glass rocks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fantastic geology!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This is a pretty easy and laid back trail, winding through the naturally formed volcanic glass. The trail is uneven and rough in some spots, but is mostly free of debris. The trailhead is located in a fee area, with plenty of parking. Informational placards are found throughout the hike, and excellent views of Paulina lake can be seen from the summit.

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