Park somewhere near Paulina lake(where there are some small hot springs) and look for a trailhead which begins on single and then switches to a fireroad. I believe it is called the Paulina rim trail. After a lung-searing climb(about 3 miles) on the fireroad, bear right onto a softly sandy singletrack with the Paulina crater looming directly in front of you. Follow this singletrace for some time, allowing your lungs to recover and you will come upon another fork in the trail, either allowing you to climb up near the rim of the crater or continue below it, tracing along the Nortwest side of it. It is one of the strangest landscapes I have ever rolled through. Lunar-like, with pumice rocks and sandy-ashy soil, with a long crossing where the trail somewhat disappears.My tires sank it, but I spun the little ring and kind of half-floated, half-sank. It took a lot of energy.
You must bring mucho water and sunglasses/sunscreen. It seems a lunar desert ecosystem up there and serenely quiet, just a little warm wind.. You will pick up the single track again as you enter some scrubby little trees, and be prepared for some serious down hill switchbacks with lava boulders lining the trail and many ponderosas shading certain sections of the trail. I had a nice blowout here and ate lunch here, taking in the view of the twin lakes, Paulina and East, but I couldn't sit for too long, because the mosquitoes were a force up there.. A long descent, twisty and fun, using all the fork's travel with some whoops through the forest and back to a well-signs gravel road into Paulina Lake.
Find yourself in Bend, Oregon. Drive south-east on Highway 97 until you see signs for the paulina lake turn-off on your left and head up a slow, rv-filled asphalt twisty 20 mile uphill. Park near Paulina lake and find the trailhead. Pay 3.00 fee if you don't like tickets.
Summary: First time riding the Newberry Crater Rim Trail (not called Paulina Rim Trail) over July 4th weekend. I had heard it was a grunt, and it did take some effort, but well worth it overall. Great views, great downhill (at the end) and I didn't see another biker or person the entire day.
Parked at the day use are next to the first boat ramp across from the new visitors center, then pedaled up Road 500 3 miles. That part sucked, I have to say - steady granny pedal incline for 3 miles, with limited shade, lots of washboard, and dust from passing cars. Go as early in the morning as you can to avoid traffic and sun. The trail (57) crosses the road, but I almost missed it. You follow 57 the whole way around.
The best part of the trail comes next with fast rolling singletrack overlooking the two lakes (Paulina and East) with Mt. Jefferson in the distance and the huge obsidian flow below. Stop and take photos during the first 3 miles - the views are the best here.
After some downhill, you head north on a logging road tree tunnel. Nothing to say here, glad I had my nano.
Took a break on Cinder Hill with great views West. At 15 miles I hit the blowdown. Off my bike every 2 minutes, probably 25 times. Finally the blowdown was cleared for the fastest part - the descent to Paulina Lake. Super fun and they are right about the water bars...
By myself and with blowdown it took 3.25 hours. The beach at the far East end of East Lake was nice to cool and wash off. Couldn't find any hot springs, but it was too hot anyway.
I asked the ranger at the visitor's center about when the usually clear the blowdown and he said this is the first summer that the Forest Service is actually working at Newberry Crater. Weird. I told him where all the down trees were and he told me a volunteer conservation crew was looking for work and he would send them there.
So the key is waiting until the snow melts out, but before it gets to dusty/sandy. This weekend was just about perfect.
Recommended Route: Counterclockwise is the only way to go. Straightforward and fun. Next time, I have to figure out how to get a ride to the top of Paulina Peak and avoid the dirt road up.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Hiking the Paulina Lake Loop trail with your dog. 7.5 miles around. Lots of beaches.
Summary: I rode the Paulina Rim Trail this weekend and am still smiling about it. The pedal up the gravel road is a real grunt - definitely good to hit it while in the morning shade if it is a hot summer day ahead. The first 5 miles after leaving the gravel road are outstanding single track with other-worldly views. The only disappointment of the ride is that the track becomes a somewhat barren and smooth fireroad with a wide swath of trees cleared on both sides of the trail(??) after crossing road 2127, keeping you in the blazing sun until you hit the scenic lake overlook. After that, the riding is fantastic again, taking you back into the trees. Remember the grunt gravel incine? You get it all back with a fantastic white-knuckle descent over the last 3 miles. Beware the water bars! I would do this ride again any time I can get to the east side. Note: it would be a grave mistake to try this ride in a clockwise fashion with vast stretches of loose inclines. Going up the gravel road first, there is no hike-a-bike for the fit set.
Recommended Route: Paulina rim trail - counter clockwise
Other recommended trails in the same area: Deschutes River Trail
Black Rock Trail (at Benham Falls)
Waldo Lake Loop
Summary: Riding this trail counter clockwise makes sense since the pumice field is a bear to climb and just as challenging to descend but more fun to descend. Fast flowing single track rewards the riders on the north side of East Lake and the further one rides the more fun the trail opens up. There are some tough climbs but over all the trail is a blast. I rode this trail on a bike way too small for my 6ft 7" frame and it was heavy around 36lbs. This year I have an XL 2008 Yeti 575 with an RP23 and it weighs around 30.5lbs................huge difference. I have had a lot of fun on this bike so far and look forward to the epic rides and climbs this year of 2008.
Recommended Route: From right to left or from the south to north going counter clock wise.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Dechutes River Trail between Sunriver and Bend.
Review Date December 15, 2001
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Kevin Lyons
, from Redmond, OR
Summary: A nice gradual climb for about three miles up the forest service road. Nice elevation gain and on a clear day, awesome views. The TH is on the right and is well signed. Excellent rolling single track and not very technical. For a rider with experience on single track, this trail will challenge you only because of the distance. If you are advanced, the challenge comes from pacing yourself for a fast ride. The North side of Paulina Lake as you drop back down to earth will challenge downhillers with serious waterbars made of wood and very slick...yeeeehhhaaawwwwwwww...Over all, a nice rolling trail with outstanding views. Take water, food, and a camera. You will not want to miss this ride if able to take it. You peak at about 7000 feet so expect great views and snow if late spring and fall seasons. If you want, go to http://photos.yahoo.com/kwltrack for some pics of Newberry Crater and other pics of some nice rides in the area. Contact me if you like for additional info. Ride hard or ride home....Kevin
Recommended Route: I parked in the Day Use area at Paulina Lake. Across from the information board. From here, rode toward East Lake, Took the forest service road signed for Paulina Peak. Ride three miles to the trail head on the right. From here a total counter clockwise ride back to the day use area.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Waldo Lake
Review Date July 4, 2000
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a year
Reviewed by: Julian
, from Portland
Summary: From lung bursting uphills to fast and flowing descents, this trail has it all. I reccomend riding it counter clockwise so to hit the China Hat singletrack section going downhill; it's a bi*ch to climb. There are a lot of whoop-dees and fast sections, a good ride for the epic-crew. The ground is soft and there are sections of bermed pumice that allow you to dive into corners without hesitation. There's a reason my family goes back every summer; it might just be the best epic ride in Oregon.
Recommended Route: start whereever. It is a loop so you can put in or out anywhere you want to park. Reccomended spots include Hot Springs campground or the East Lake Marina.
Other recommended trails in the same area: ask the locals in Bend.