• Paulina Lake Hot Springs is a thermal oasis of Newberry Caldera
• The springs were formed as a result of discharge of heated groundwater
Paulina Lake Hot Springs is primitive hot springs on the shore of Paulina Lake in Newberry Caldera, within the boundaries of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. One of the twin scenic lakes of the caldera, Paulina was created about 500,000 years ago when the overlying volcano's dome collapsed. The hot springs were formed as a result of intrusions on the lakeshore which discharged heated underground water onto the surface.
The other lake, East Lake is located 2 miles east of Paulina, and also features hot springs on its shore, known as East Lake Hot Springs.
The hot springs emerge from the lake bottom and most of them are secured by the Paulina Lake's waterbody . Fortunately, there are a few hot springs along the north shore. Seeping through red and black volcanic gravel, the thermal springs fill out pools that were dug by volunteers. Water volume depends on the pools' depth and the lake water level.
The best time to soak into the hot springs at the Paulina Lake is May through July when the pools have enough water. In winter and early springs, the water of the lake is high and the shore hot springs are submerged with the lake body. At the end of summer and fall, the water level in the lake as well as in the hot springs is getting very low and the hot springs do not have enough water for dipping.
The water temperature depends on weather conditions and ranges from 90 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature of the hot springs vents located directly beneath the pools has been reported as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The sulfur odor is very faint.
According to USDA Forest Service, because the hot springs' area is a riparian zone, digging is not allowed. Use existing soaking pools.
The hot springs can be accessed by 2-mile Hot Springs Spur Trail from Little Crater Campground or 7.5-mile Paulina Lake Trail from a trailhead at Paulina Visitor Center.
Camping and fires are prohibited outside of developed campgrounds.
Paulina Lake Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 39 miles southeast of Bend • Central Oregon • USA
Open: May - mid-October from sunrise to sunset
Clothing: Swimsuits are recommended
Amenities: No services
Accommodations: No camping near the hot springs; Little Crater Campground at the trailhead; Paulina Lake Campground; Paulina Lake Lodge
Hiking distance: 2.3 miles
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Managed: US Forest Service
Day-use fees: Yes
Elevation: 6,350 ft (1,935 m)
Directions to Paulina Lake Hot Springs
- Travel approximately 23 miles south onto US 97 to Paulina East Lake Road
- Turn left onto Paulina East Road and drive 14 miles east to the sign of Little Crater Campground
- Turn left onto Little Crater Campground Road and travel to the end of the road (Hot Springs Trailhead).
From the trailhead at Little Crater Campground, hike 2.3-mile along the Paulina Lake shoreline.