Lava River National Recreation Trail #3540

Photo of Lava River Trail showing the asphalt paving surrounded by a field of lava and peak ahead

Located near the Dee Wright Observatory, this paved interpretive trail offers a unique half-mile hike through lava that flowed from Yapoah Crater approximately 2,000 to 2,700 years ago. As you traverse the trail, you will find interpretive signs that offer geologic information describing the numerous lava formations along the trail.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Access is dependent on McKenzie Highway (OR Hwy 242), which is closed in the winter. Check for conditions. Closed 10/21/2021 for winter season.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Highway 242 (McKenzie Highway) is not suitable for trailers or long recreational vehicles.
Closest Towns: McKenzie Bridge, OR (west)
Sisters, OR (east)
Water: None
Restroom: At Dee Wright Observatory
Information Center: McKenzie River Ranger Station

General Information


Access from the Dee Wright Observatory. The Lava River Trail is just east of the observatory and accessed from the parking area.

General Notes:

Map of Lava River trail

Close to:


The trail is wheelchair accessible, but please note that even though trail is paved it is “most difficult” for wheelchairs due to steep grades (at 0-8%) with drop-offs. And, though the majority of the trail is accessible, be aware that there is a “hiker loop” at the back of the trail which is not barrier free.


Day Hiking


Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Viewing Scenery

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities



  Area/Length : 
.5 mile

  Elevation : 
5300 feet