Central Oregon Geology Tour, Part 1


You can read the entire trip report and see additional photos on my blog.

We had great time on this trip, Exploring Oregon - Geology Tour. We traveled 240 miles of dirt in the Central Oregon desert and the Deschutes National Forest as we visited some of the most unique geological features that the area has to offer.

Our first stop was the Glass Buttes area where we collected multiple colors obsidian. The three mile road into the area is very rough.

Next up was Lost Forest and the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes where we spent the night. The forest is made up of ponderosa pines that have adapted to living in the desert. The sand dunes are the remains of Mt. Mazama after it exploded to create Crater Lake.

In the morning we headed to Crack in the Ground, a volcanic fissure that you can walk through.


Then it was on to Green Mountain Lookout for beautiful view of the surrounding area. From there we went to Derrick Cave via two tracks through the desert.


Our last stop was the largest juniper tree in Oregon.

Fort Rock, a tuft ring volcano was our first stop the following day.

Next was Hole in the Ground and then Big Hole. Both are explosion craters. Hole in the Ground is about 500 feet deep and a mile in diameter. Big Hole is a bit bigger.

Arnold Ice Cave was our first stop the following day. It use to be full of ice, as the name implies. The ice was mined in the 50s and taken to Bend.

We got back on pavement for the run to the Painted Hills.

Our last stop on the trip was at the Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center at the John Day Fossil Beds.

See Part 2
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