Lava Butte Interpretive Site

Lava Butte sign on top of cinder cone with view of snow-covered Cascade mountains

Lava Butte is a cinder cone rising 500 feet above Lava Lands Visitor Center. A cinder covered trail encircles the rim of the cone with outstanding views. 

There is a working fire lookout atop Lava Bute, but please don't disturb the staff in the lookout. You may enter the room beneath the lookout and view the panoramic photos that help identifiy the peaks in view.

Peak Season (June 17 – Labor Day Weekend)

During the peak season, the Deschutes National Forest and Discover Your Forest partner with Cascades East Transit (CET) to provide shuttle service to the top of Lava Butte.

  • The shuttle departs from Lava Lands Visitor Center and the top of Lava Butte every 20 minutes between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $3/person (Children 2 and under ride FREE)
    • Exact change is required
    • Tickets can also be purchased using the TouchPass app
  • Shuttles are wheelchair accessible
  • Transport available for bicycles and leashed dogs
  • Access by personal motor vehicles is not permitted on days when the shuttle is in service

Non-Peak Season (mid-April to June 16 / Tues. after Labor Day to mid-October)

Outside of the peak season, visitors can obtain free first-come, first-serve timed permits to access the top of Lava Butte by personal vehicles. Permits are available at the Lava Lands Welcome Station. Road access for personal vehicles is only available during Lava Lands Visitor Center hours of operation.

  • Vehicles greater than 22' long may not go up the butte.

Non-Motorized Access

  • Visitors may access Lava Butte by non-motorized methods at any time from dawn to dusk.
  • The Lava Lands Visitor Center parking area remains open year-round; however, access during winter months is dependent on snow accumulation. The lot is not plowed or maintained during winter.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Pedestrian and bike access is available year round. E-bikes permitted.
  • Open Today - Oct 1st open 10:00 - 3:30 to passenger vehicles
  • Closed Oct 2nd-5th to passenger vehicles
  • Open Oct 6th – 8th open 10:00 - 3:30 to passenger vehicles
  • Closed Oct 9th until May 2024 to passenger vehicles
Fees: Recreation Fee Area: $5/vehicle/day  – On-site payment available.
Usage: Heavy
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Passes: Recreation Fee Site: Parking at this site requires a recreation pass. Please check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased. Acceptable passes include:
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Lava Lands Visitor Center

General Information


From Bend, OR: Travel 11.2 miles south on Highway 97.


Information about accessible recreation opportunities in Pacific Northwest National Forests.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

Access to the Lava Butte Trail is available from this site.

Viewing Scenery

The butte offers a panoramic view of central Oregon, including a spectacular view of the Cascade Range and the northwest flank of Newberry.

Interpretive Areas

Lava Butte rises 500 feet above the Visitor Center. This cinder cone erupted 7,000 years ago with lava covering over nine square miles. The Lava Butte interpretive trail circles the crater rim.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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