Lava Lands in Bend, Oregon

Well our next stop on our way back to SLC, Utah in late 2019 was a Thousand Trails campground called Bend-Sunriver in Bend, Oregon. It was a great campground nestled in tall pine trees. But the real attraction was Lava Lands and Crater Lake. We’ll start with Lava Lands. We did the drive to the top of Lava Butte for a spectacular view of Central Oregon and the center of the volcano and a great view of the lava fields.

In the late 1960s NASA looked for a place to send astronauts who were training for a mission that would change the world. But before the mission could happen, NASA needed a place to mimic what they believed those astronauts would find on the surface of the moon. Because, after all, nobody had been there before so nobody really knew what the surface of the moon was like.

Enter the barren landscape that is Lava Lands in Central Oregon.

Located on the north flank of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, what is now Lava Lands was created about 7,000 years ago after a volcanic explosion of Lava Butte. A miles-wide sea of jagged lava rock was left behind creating a unique geological landscape that served as that training ground for moon-bound astronauts.