Peter Skene Ogden Trail Guide
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||18 miles (29 km)|
|Other Options||9 miles one-way, or 12 miles round-trip from McKay Crossing|
|Hike Time||7-8 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||2,100 feet (640m)|
|Highest Elevation||6,350 feet (1936m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Pass|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Deschutes National Forest|
|Weather & Forecast||Latest Conditions|
|Stay Safe||Copy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.|
The Peter Skene Ogden Trail is a hidden gem. Although it is not widely known among the hiking community, it is designated a National Recreation Trail (NRT) because it “represents its region, supports a diverse community, and is among America’s best trails,” this hike is worth a visit. You’ll hike along Paulina Creek, passing numerous waterfalls, and arrive at Newberry Volcano’s caldera at the end. The volcano is the largest in the Cascades arc, still active, and a smidgen smaller than the size of Rhode Island. This hike has a lot going on!
Where is the Peter Skene Ogden Trail?
The official start of the trail is about an hour south of Bend, OR, and a short distance from La Pine, OR. Use this trailhead address:
Ogden Group Camp, Paulina-East Lake Rd, La Pine, OR 97739
You need a National Parks Pass or Northwest Forest Pass to park at any trailheads here.
- If you’d like to do the shorter 12 mile round-trip hike, continue toward Newberry Crater and park at the McKay Crossing Campground.
- You can also do the hike described here in reverse. Park in the big lot by the boat launch at the Paulina Visitor Center.
Gear For the Hike
The trail is singletrack in excellent condition. However, it will become covered in snow in the winter but clear from May to November. If you are on a shoulder season, bring micro-spikes in case there’s snow at the higher elevations. Facilities along the caldera are generally open from June to September.
Otherwise, the hike is straightforward when it comes to gear. There’s plenty of water along the creek; bring a filter. Most of the hike is shaded by lodgepole and Ponderosa pines. Make sure you have enough snacks and an extra layer or two.
There is no overnight camping along the trail outside of designated campgrounds.
Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.
Latest Prices: Amazon | REI
Altra Lone Peak 6
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Terraventure 3 or Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.
Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon
Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated June 2022.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Peter Skene Ogden Trail Maps
While there are a few tricky points I’ll point out in the directions below, overall, it’s a straightforward trail that follows Paulina Creek from start to finish. You’ll see numerous side trails heading to the water, but the well-worn Peter Skene Ogden Trail is always easy to spot. The trail is shared with equestrians and mountain bikes, which are only allowed to ride uphill.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
- Peter Skene Ogden worked for the Hudson Bay Company as a trapper, manager, and explorer. The amount of ground he covered in the 1820s is impressive: from Vancouver to the Great Salt Lake to the Sea of Cortez and back. At the time, this area was either part of the disputed fur trading area called “Oregon Country” or belonged to Mexico. But of course, this entire area belonged to Native Peoples, and Ogden had a bad reputation when it came to them, having at least one documented murder and more likely in his travels. Yet he also had several Native wives. It was a different time for sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the trail name at some point. You can still read the book he wrote about his times exploring.
- If this trail was named after a fur trapper, you could probably guess it’s rich in wildlife. I’ve seen several mink along the trail, and if you keep your eyes open, you might spot deer, eagles, and other wildlife along the way.
- Paulina Lake, at the end of this hike, is the caldera of Newberry Volcano and part of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Unlike a “traditional” conical volcano like Mt Hood, Newberry Volcano is a shield volcano, which is much lower yet wider. The full size of Newberry Volcano is just a bit smaller than Rhode Island; it’s the largest volcano in the Cascades volcanic arc. The USGS assesses its threat potential as “very high,” and it last erupted about 1300 years ago. Today it’s mainly known for its good fishing (it’s stocked with trout and other fish).
- The oldest dwelling in North America was found along the lakeshore in 1998. It’s believed to be 10,000 years old and was preserved after being covered by an eruption 7,500 years ago, much like the discoveries at Pompeii. It’s thought that the Windust hunter-gatherers used the dwelling. You can still find Windust-era blades and tools made out of obsidian from the Newberry Volcano in the area.
Peter Skene Ogden Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Paulina Creek and Paulina Lake are named after the Northern Paiute chief Pahninee. His story follows the same tragic script of other Native peoples trying to defend their homeland.
This guide last updated on June 14, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.