Paulina Peak Summit Hike And Car Camping Weekend For Our 16th Wedding Anniversary

Earlier this summer I went on a trail run around the rim of Newberry Crater in central Oregon and it was spectacular. 20+ miles around two beautiful lakes and a nice climb to the summit of Paulina peak with views for days! I get to see some amazing places while I am training for ultramarathons and rarely get to share my trips with the fam.

So, this past weekend was our 16th wedding anniversary and I jumped on the chance to take Kristen to see this place. My parents recently moved to town. We now have this really strange and magical new ability… we can go overnight by ourselves without kids! It’s like being newlyweds again.

I packed up the car with everything we would need for one night of car camping, dropped the kids at grandma and grandpa’s house and we were off for an adventure. Just the two of us.

I highly recommend a visit to this area if you are traveling on Highway 97 through Oregon. Most people are making the trip to see Crater Lake and zoom right by without knowing what they are missing. We have lived just north of this area for 6 years and never visited!

Here we are about 3 miles into the hike from the visitor center to the summit

The views really opened up at this point. Too bad it was such a smoky day.
paulina peak hike

Paulina peak summit!

That’s the lake way down below where we started. Trail details here.
paulina peak summit

Check out that massive lava flow below.

This view is looking down from the summit and to the east.
newberry lava flow

Back to the base of our hike to check out Paulina Falls

Sun was going to set soon so we hung out to take a photo or two.
paulina falls

Sunset in the smoke

Time to go find a place to camp.
paulina falls sunset

Found a place to camp. Time to make some hot chocolate!

Ended up just pulling into one of the access roads for a snow park. Had the whole forest to ourselves.
dispersed camping paulina creek

Glad we camped up high. All the smoke settled in the valley.

It was nice to car camp in the Honda Pilot. Can’t do that with two littles in tow.
car camping with the honda pilot

TIP: If you don’t feel like doing a big hike to the summit – there is actually a road to the top as well. There was even people getting rides to the top and mountain biking back down the access road. Sounds fun!

If you have any questions or comments about Newberry Crater and Paulina Peak area – Let us know below…

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