Trail of the Molten Lands In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Trail of the Molten Lands:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 0.75 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Trail of the Molten Lands, also known as the Molten Lands Trail, holds a significant place in the annals of history. This ancient trail stretches across a vast expanse of rugged terrain, winding through treacherous volcanic landscapes and barren wastelands. Its origins can be traced back to a time long forgotten, believed to have been forged by early civilizations seeking to navigate through the perilous volcanic regions.

Historical records suggest that the Trail of the Molten Lands was first established as a trade route by ancient civilizations that inhabited the surrounding areas. These early settlers recognized the strategic importance of the trail, as it provided a vital connection between distant communities and facilitated the exchange of goods and resources. The trail’s path was carefully chosen to avoid the most dangerous volcanic zones, ensuring safe passage for traders and travelers alike.

Over the centuries, the Trail of the Molten Lands witnessed the rise and fall of numerous civilizations. It became a lifeline for communities, enabling the transportation of essential supplies, such as food, water, and building materials. The trail also played a crucial role in cultural exchange, as it allowed different societies to interact, share knowledge, and foster diplomatic relations.

However, the trail’s history is not without its dark chapters. It is said that during times of conflict, armies would march along the Trail of the Molten Lands, using its treacherous terrain to their advantage. The volcanic landscapes provided natural barriers, making it difficult for invading forces to navigate and conquer the territories beyond. The trail became a symbol of resilience and a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who defended their lands.

Today, the Trail of the Molten Lands stands as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of ancient civilizations. It serves as a reminder of the challenges they faced and the lengths they went to establish connections and ensure their survival. The trail continues to attract adventurers and historians alike, who seek to unravel its mysteries and pay homage to the remarkable civilizations that once thrived along its path.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Lava Lands Visitor Center: This is the main access point for the Trail of the Molten Lands. It provides information about the trail and the volcanic landscape.

2. Lava River Cave: Located near the visitor center, this trailhead provides access to the underground lava tube. It is a popular starting point for hikers exploring the trail.

3. Lava Butte: This trailhead is located at the base of Lava Butte, a cinder cone volcano. Hikers can climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding volcanic landscape.

4. Benham Falls East Trailhead: This access point is located near Benham Falls, a scenic waterfall along the Deschutes River. It offers a different perspective of the volcanic activity in the area.

5. Lava Cast Forest Trailhead: This trailhead provides access to the Lava Cast Forest, where visitors can see the imprints of ancient trees preserved in lava flows.

6. Lava Lands Overlook: Located near the visitor center, this overlook offers stunning views of the lava fields and volcanic features. It is a great starting point for shorter hikes along the trail.

7. Lava Butte Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the summit of Lava Butte. Hikers can take a shorter trail to reach the top or connect to longer trails in the area.

8. Lava River Cave Trailhead: This access point is specifically for hikers interested in exploring the Lava River Cave. It provides parking and a starting point for the underground adventure.

9. Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Site: This trailhead is located near the Lava Cast Forest Interpretive Site, where visitors can learn about the unique geological features of the area before starting their hike.

10. Lava Butte Interpretive Site: This trailhead is located near the Lava Butte Interpretive Site, which provides information about the volcanic history and features of the region. It is a good starting point for educational hikes along the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Molten Lands Shuttle – Convenient shuttle service offering transportation to and from the Trail of the Molten Lands.
2. Lava Cabs – Reliable taxi service with experienced drivers familiar with the Trail of the Molten Lands.
3. Volcano Express – Bus service providing affordable transportation options for visitors exploring the Trail of the Molten Lands.
4. Fiery Wheels Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the Trail of the Molten Lands.
5. Inferno Helicopters – Helicopter tours providing breathtaking aerial views of the Trail of the Molten Lands and its surroundings.
6. Scorching Scooters – Scooter rental service allowing visitors to easily navigate the Trail of the Molten Lands at their own pace.
7. Blazing Horses – Horseback riding tours offering a unique and adventurous way to experience the Trail of the Molten Lands.
8. Flame Ferries – Ferry service providing transportation across nearby bodies of water, connecting visitors to the Trail of the Molten Lands.


The amenities available at the Trail of the Molten Lands may vary, but here are some common amenities you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: Parking areas or designated parking lots might be provided for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and permits, there might be designated camping sites or areas where visitors can set up tents and camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills may be available for visitors to enjoy meals or snacks.

5. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you might find interpretive signs providing information about the geological features, flora, fauna, or historical significance of the area.

6. Trail Markers: Clear trail markers or signs may be placed at regular intervals to guide visitors and prevent them from getting lost.

7. Information Center: There might be an information center or visitor center where visitors can obtain maps, brochures, and additional information about the trail and its surroundings.

8. Drinking Water: Access to drinking water sources or water fountains may be available at certain points along the trail.

9. Benches or Seating Areas: Resting spots with benches or seating areas might be provided along the trail for visitors to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

10. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, trash receptacles may be placed at regular intervals for visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

It is recommended to check with the local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information on the specific amenities available at the Trail of the Molten Lands.

Nearby Services

1. Lodge at Lava Springs – Cozy lodging with stunning views of the volcanic landscape.
2. Volcano Diner – Casual eatery serving delicious comfort food near the trailhead.
3. Fire Station 12 – Emergency services available 24/7 for any trail-related incidents.
4. Ashen Inn – Budget-friendly accommodation offering basic amenities for hikers.
5. Molten Bites – Food truck serving quick and tasty snacks for hungry adventurers.
6. Red Cross Outpost – Emergency medical assistance and first aid available for trail users.
7. Volcano View Resort – Upscale lodging with luxurious amenities and panoramic views of the molten lands.
8. Trailside Café – Quaint café offering a variety of meals and beverages for hikers to refuel.
9. Ranger Station – Information center and emergency services hub for the trail.
10. Lava Lodge – Rustic lodge nestled amidst the volcanic landscape, perfect for nature enthusiasts.

Trail of the Molten Lands Difficulty Notes

The Trail of the Molten Lands is renowned for its challenging difficulty level. This treacherous trail winds through rugged terrain, steep inclines, and treacherous volcanic landscapes, making it a true test of endurance and skill. Hikers must navigate through scorching hot lava fields, navigate narrow paths along sheer cliffs, and overcome unpredictable weather conditions. The trail demands physical strength, mental resilience, and a deep understanding of outdoor survival skills. Only the most experienced and well-prepared adventurers dare to take on the Trail of the Molten Lands, as it offers a thrilling and demanding expedition that pushes one’s limits to the extreme.

Features And Attractions

1. Lava Butte: Located near Bend, Oregon, Lava Butte is a cinder cone volcano that offers panoramic views of the surrounding lava fields and Cascade Mountains.

2. Lava River Cave: This lava tube cave, also near Bend, provides a unique underground experience. Visitors can explore the mile-long cave and witness the geological formations created by ancient lava flows.

3. Newberry National Volcanic Monument: Situated within the Deschutes National Forest, this monument encompasses a diverse range of volcanic features. It includes the Big Obsidian Flow, Paulina Peak, Paulina and East Lakes, and the Lava Cast Forest.

4. Benham Falls: Located along the Deschutes River, Benham Falls offers a stunning display of cascading water. The trail along the falls provides scenic views and opportunities for hiking and photography.

5. Lava Lands Visitor Center: This visitor center, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, provides information about the volcanic history of the area. It also offers interpretive exhibits and overlooks the Lava Butte and Lava River Cave.

6. Big Obsidian Flow: This massive lava flow, located within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, is composed of shiny black obsidian. Visitors can hike through the flow and observe the unique geological formations.

7. Paulina Peak: Standing at an elevation of 7,985 feet, Paulina Peak offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding volcanic landscape. It is accessible via a scenic drive or a moderate hike.

8. Lava Cast Forest: This unique forest, located within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, showcases the imprints of ancient trees in solidified lava. Visitors can walk along the trail and observe these fascinating lava molds.

9. East Lake: Situated within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, East Lake is a picturesque lake surrounded by volcanic landscapes. It offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.

10. Paulina Lake: Adjacent to East Lake, Paulina Lake is another beautiful volcanic lake. It provides opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and hiking along its scenic shoreline.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Trail of the Molten Lands. There may be additional attractions and points of interest in the surrounding areas as well.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Trail of the Molten Lands.
2. The trail is open year-round and does not have any seasonal restrictions.
3. Visitors must stay on designated trails and follow all posted signs and markers.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the trail.
5. Littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors must carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
6. Open fires or barbecues are not allowed on the trail.
7. Bicycles, motorized vehicles, and horses are not permitted on the trail.
8. Visitors should respect the natural environment and wildlife, refraining from disturbing or feeding animals.
9. Hunting or fishing is not allowed on the trail.
10. Visitors should be prepared with appropriate footwear, clothing, and supplies for a safe and enjoyable hike.
11. It is recommended to check weather conditions and trail conditions before embarking on the trail.
12. Visitors should be aware of their own physical limitations and hike within their abilities.
13. The trail is for recreational use only, and commercial activities or organized events require prior permission.
14. Visitors should be cautious of potential hazards such as loose rocks, steep slopes, or unstable terrain.
15. Any damage or vandalism to the trail or its surroundings is strictly prohibited and should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Seasonal Information

The Trail of the Molten Lands, located in central Idaho, is a captivating hiking trail that takes visitors through a unique volcanic landscape. While the trail is open year-round, the best times to visit are during the summer and early fall months. From June to September, the weather is generally pleasant, with warm temperatures and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities. During this time, the trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush greenery, and vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque experience for hikers.

It is important to note that the Trail of the Molten Lands is subject to seasonal closures due to weather conditions. During the winter months, heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures make the trail inaccessible and potentially dangerous. It is advisable to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions before planning a visit during the colder months.

In addition to weather-related closures, occasional closures may occur due to volcanic activity or maintenance work. The trail is located in an area with active volcanic features, and it is important to stay informed about any potential volcanic hazards or warnings issued by authorities. Visitors should always prioritize their safety and follow any instructions or guidelines provided by park rangers or officials.

Overall, the best times to visit the Trail of the Molten Lands are during the summer and early fall when the weather is favorable and the trail is open for exploration. By planning your visit accordingly and staying informed about any closures or hazards, you can fully enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of this volcanic landscape.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A ramp or level pathway leading to the trailhead, allowing wheelchair users to enter easily.
3. Paved Pathways: Smooth and even surfaces throughout the trail, suitable for wheelchair navigation.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail for individuals to rest and take breaks.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with wheelchair-accessible stalls and facilities.
6. Signage with Braille: Trail signs featuring Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
7. Handrails and Guardrails: Secure handrails and guardrails along steep or uneven sections of the trail for added safety.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides available for individuals with visual impairments, providing information about the trail.
9. Service Animal Accommodations: The trail allows service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with wheelchair-accessible tables and facilities for visitors to enjoy meals.
11. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail that provide wheelchair users with optimal views of scenic spots.
12. Trail Maps with Accessibility Information: Trail maps indicating accessible routes and facilities for visitors’ convenience.
13. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
14. Accessible Shuttle Service: Shuttle service available for individuals with mobility challenges to access different sections of the trail.
15. Accessible Visitor Center: A visitor center equipped with ramps, elevators, and accessible facilities for all visitors.
16. Wheelchair Rental: Wheelchair rental services available for visitors who require mobility assistance.
17. Accessible Parking Lot Shuttle: Shuttle service from the parking lot to the trailhead for individuals with limited mobility.
18. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains along the trail for visitors’ convenience.
19. Tactile Pathways: Textured pathways for individuals with visual impairments to navigate the trail independently.
20. Accessible Camping Facilities: Campgrounds with wheelchair-accessible sites and facilities for overnight stays.

Safety Information

1. Proper footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rugged terrain safely.
2. Sun protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to shield yourself from the intense heat and UV rays.
3. Hydration: Carry an ample supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the trail, as there are limited water sources available.
4. Weather awareness: Check the weather forecast before embarking on the trail and be prepared for sudden changes in temperature or weather conditions.
5. Trail markers: Pay attention to the trail markers and follow them closely to avoid getting lost in the vast and sometimes confusing landscape.
6. Emergency contact: Carry a fully charged cell phone and have emergency contact numbers readily available in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
7. Wildlife encounters: Be cautious of potential encounters with wildlife, such as snakes or insects, and maintain a safe distance if you come across any.
8. Physical fitness: The trail can be physically demanding, so ensure you are in good physical condition and pace yourself accordingly.
9. Leave no trace: Respect the environment by packing out all trash and leaving the trail as you found it, minimizing your impact on the ecosystem.
10. Hiking in groups: Consider hiking with a partner or in a group for added safety and support, especially in remote areas.
11. First aid kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and any necessary personal medications.
12. Trail closures: Stay updated on any trail closures or restrictions that may be in place due to volcanic activity or other safety concerns.
13. Inform others: Let someone know your hiking plans, including your expected return time, so that they can raise the alarm if needed.
14. Respect local regulations: Familiarize yourself with any specific rules or regulations governing the trail and adhere to them for your safety and the preservation of the area.
15. Trail conditions: Be aware of the current trail conditions, such as loose rocks or unstable terrain, and adjust your pace and footing accordingly.

Conservation Notes

The Trail of the Molten Lands, located in central Idaho, is a unique geological feature that offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s volcanic history. As for its conservation status, the trail falls under the management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is designated as a National Natural Landmark. This recognition highlights the trail’s exceptional geological significance and the need to protect its natural features.

Efforts to conserve the Trail of the Molten Lands primarily focus on preserving its fragile volcanic landscape and ensuring the safety of visitors. The BLM has implemented various measures to minimize human impact on the trail, such as establishing designated paths and viewing areas to prevent erosion and disturbance to sensitive areas. Additionally, the BLM has installed informative signage along the trail to educate visitors about the geological processes that shaped the landscape and the importance of preserving it.

Conservation efforts also extend to the protection of the trail’s unique flora and fauna. The volcanic terrain supports a variety of plant species that have adapted to the harsh conditions, including sagebrush and wildflowers. These plants play a crucial role in stabilizing the soil and providing habitat for insects, birds, and small mammals. To safeguard these ecosystems, the BLM encourages visitors to stay on designated trails and avoid trampling vegetation or disturbing wildlife.

Overall, the conservation status of the Trail of the Molten Lands is actively managed to ensure the preservation of its geological features, protect the fragile ecosystems it supports, and provide visitors with an educational and enjoyable experience while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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