Paulina Lake, Oregon, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Oregon - Central -

Set in the high desert country of central Oregon, Paulina Lake is one of two sparkling lakes resting in the caldera of Newberry Crater. Part of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Paulina Lake is located in Deschutes National Forest and the Central Oregon Tourism Region. Within a 35-mile drive southeast of Bend, or 20-mile drive northeast of La Pine, will take you through miles of unique volcanic formations to 1,531-acre Paulina (pronounced Pull-line-ah) Lake and 1,050-acre East Lake.

Located within Deschutes County, Mount Newberry is part of the Paulina Mountains, lying less than 45 miles east of the majestic Cascade Range. Mount Newberry is a shield volcano that achieved its unusual shape from centuries of repeated fluid eruptions covering over 502 square miles. The last eruption occurred about 1,300 years ago, making it Oregon’s most recent volcanic eruption. Continued seismic and hydrothermal activities around Paulina Lake provide evidence that this volcano will eventually erupt again.

Archeologists have found evidence of native people visiting Paulina Lake and Newberry Crater as early as 10,000 years ago. For centuries, even during active volcanic periods, native people came to Newberry Crater to quarry obsidian used in their tools. In 1826 a fur trapper named Peter Skene Ogden became the first recorded white visitor to Newberry Crater. Newberry Mountain and crater are named for Dr. John Strong Newberry, a physician, geologist, and naturalist who passed through Oregon on a mapping expedition in 1855. Paulina Lake is named after a renegade Snake (Shoshone) Indian chief who led frequent raiding parties against Oregon’s white and Native American settlements during the mid-1800s.

With a maximum depth of 250 feet and average depth of 163 feet, Paulina Lake is larger and deeper than East Lake’s maximum depth of 185 feet and average depth of 67 feet. There are no inlets to either lake; both are dependent upon rain, snowmelt, and springs for their water supply. Paulina Creek provides an outlet for Paulina Lake. Decades of erosion along Paulina Creek carved a gorge in the crater’s west wall, creating picturesque Paulina Falls. From Paulina Falls, the outlet continues westward into Little Deschutes River. Paulina Lake’s thermal vents and hot springs are located near the northeastern shore. Temperatures in the springs can range from 95 to 175 degrees. The hot spring pools created for public use are mixed with cooler lake water for safety.

Several campsites, including a horse camp, two resorts and a small number of older vacation properties, lie within Newberry Crater’s four- to five-mile wide caldera. Campsite amenities include restrooms, drinking water, and a nearby trailer dump station. Fishermen and boaters will find boat launches and docks at the campsites. A boating speed limit of 10 mph is enforced during posted fishing days and hours. Boats with toilets are prohibited unless toilets render waste harmless or made inoperative by sealing outlets.

Angling in Paulina Lake is said to be consistently good from year-to-year, making Paulina and East Lake very popular fishing destinations for anglers seeking brown trout, rainbow trout, and kokanee. In 1993, a 27-pound, 12-ounce brown trout was caught in Paulina Lake, setting a new state record. A record setting four-pound, two-ounce kokanee was also caught in Paulina Lake in 1989. Eggs from Paulina Lake’s prized kokanee have been used to supply hatcheries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

All the ingredients for a perfect family vacation can be found at Paulina Lake and the surrounding area. Recreational activities include swimming, water skiing, wind surfing, bird watching, bicycling, boating, and over 100 miles of trails for horseback riding and hiking. Paulina Lake campsites and some resort facilities are open year-round. Roads close during the winter so once the snow falls, access to Newberry Crater and Paulina Lake is by snowmobile or cross-country skiing.

The geologic features of Paulina Lake, Newberry Volcano, Lava Lands, and Lava Butte are a must see. The Big Obsidian Flow is the largest in the country; Lava Cast Forest is a forest of lava that molded and cooled around trees now long gone; Lava Butte is a cinder cone and eruption formation covering nine square miles; and Lava River Cave is a mile-long lava tube displaying the solidified crust that once surrounded a channel of flowing lava.

Within 20 miles to the northwest of Paulina Lake you will find two resort communities. Three Rivers offers vacation rentals and homes close to hunting, fishing, hiking and winter skiing. The beautiful community of Sunriver is located near the base of 9065-foot Mt. Bachelor and close to the Deschutes River. Sunriver is known for its resort offerings, hiking trails, beautiful pine forests, and proximity to popular winter ski areas. Continue 20 miles northwest of Sunriver, or approximately 40 miles northwest of Paulina Lake and you enter Three Sisters Wilderness Area. North, Middle, and South Sister all rise above 10,000 feet at the northeast end of the wilderness area. Approximately 260 miles of trails criss-cross the wilderness, including 40 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Middle Sister holds Collier Glacier, Oregon’s largest glacier. Signs of volcanic activity dot a landscape filled with alpine meadows, waterfalls, rivers, and streams known for brook and rainbow trout fishing.

Close to Paulina Lake, the La Pine experience is captured in its slogan: “The Outdoors at Your Front Door.” Two rivers known for trout fishing and challenging canoe and kayak runs, Big Deschutes and Little Deschutes Rivers, run through the small community of La Pine. The 1.6 million-acre Deschutes National Forest surrounds La Pine, bringing winter and summer sport enthusiasts to Mt. Jefferson, Diamond Peak, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Bachelor.

A short 25-mile drive north of Paulina Lake takes you to the rapidly growing community of Bend. With over 263 days of sunshine, eastern Oregon’s dry climate has attracted a large number of retirees and remains a popular vacation destination for rain-weary residents of the Willamette Valley. In addition to Paulina Lake and East Lake, multiple fishing lakes and rivers are within easy driving distance of Bend. Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, also known as Oregon’s Highway in the Sky, starts in Bend. The 66-mile drive crosses the Big Deschutes River, ski resorts, and the following lakes and reservoirs: Todd, Sparks, Devils, Elk, Hosmer, Lava, Little Lava, Cultus, Crane Prairie Reservoir, Wickiup Reservoir, Twin, Davis, Crescent, and Odell Lakes.

The scenic loop returns to Bend, where you will find a full range of services and attractions for those who prefer a break from the back country. For something less rigorous, this community of 82,000 people offers an excellent selection of restaurants, live theatre performances, day spas, bowling, golfing, gallery hopping, and shopping.

Drive in any direction from Paulina Lake, East Lake, and Newberry Crater and you will find a wide selection of vacation rentals and real estate properties to complete your high desert experience. Whether you select a cabin along a babbling brook, a lodge with a majestic mountain view, or city condo with golfing and a day spa, central Oregon has it all. If adventure is your passion, Paulina Lake and the unspoiled natural wonders of central Oregon are waiting for you.

Things to do at Paulina Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Paulina Lake

  • Brown Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Paulina Lake Photo Gallery

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paulina Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,531 acres

Shoreline Length: 6 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 6,335 feet

Average Depth: 163 feet

Maximum Depth: 250 feet

Water Volume: 250,000 acre-feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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