Lava Butte Interpretive Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

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.  The parking lot on top of Lava Butte is limited to 10 vehicles, so 30 minute time passes are issued at the Lava Lands Welcome Station on a first come, first served basis. 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. Vehicles greater than 22' long may not go up the butte.

For information about accessible recreation opportunities in Pacific Northwest National Forests, visit

At a Glance

Fees $5/vehicle/day or valid recreation passes from May 1 through Columbus Day weekend.
Open Season: May
Usage: Heavy
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Passes: Recreation Passes may be used as a form of fee payment
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Lava Lands Visitor Center

General Information


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


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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.  Due to limited parking at the summit, there is "Controlled Access" on high use days. Each day is divided into 15 different 30-minute time slots.  There are 10 tickets issued for each half hour time slot.  Visitors can choose the next available slot or choose one later in the day.  When their half hour time slot begins they can take their vehicle up to the summit.

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