Paulina Peak Road allows easy access to the summit of Paulina Peak. From the summit you are treated to views of the Three Sisters
, Paulina Lake, East Lake, the crater rim of Newberry Crater, the Big Obsidian Flow, east to Fort Rock. On a clear day many of the Cascades are able to be viewed as far south as Mount Shasta
and as far north as Mount Hood
. The access road is 4 miles long to the summit and it pretty well maintained. There is a climbers trail available close to a mile short of the summit if you wish to avoid the traffic and the people.
From Highway 97 take the Paulina Lake/East Lake pointer. This will be on your left hand about 24 miles south of the city of Bend. If you are heading north on Highway 97 and you see the La Pine State Park pointer, then you have gone too far. Once on the road to Paulina Lake/East Lake it will be approximately 13 miles until you reach the Paulina Peak road. It currently has a pointer that just says "Paulina Peak." This will be located on your right hand side shortly after the visitor center/gift shop. After the turn it is just a steep four miles to the summit.
Paulina Peak road is a well packed gravel road that appears to be pretty well maintained. The road has a few pullouts to allow descending traffic the right of way and has several cliffy spots along the way. Beware, there are currently some monster sized potholes right up near the parking lot that could possibly do some damage to a low clearance vehicle. Once at the top there is room for quite a few vehicles and there are even his and hers outhouses. From the parking lot, the summit will be off to your left and there is a small spur trail leading off to the right with and excellent view of East Lake and the Big Obsidian Flow.
Spring - This area receives a lot of snow, so the access road will not be available by car probably until Late June, early July. Snowshoes would probably be essential. Other items to bring would be the ten essentials. A daypack with some good snacks, plenty of water, cold weather gear, and definately a camera.
Summer - Accessible by car, you pretty much just need to bring a car as it is just a short drive to the top and even if the weather is cruddy, you still will have a view of Paulina Lake from your car unless it is socked in by clouds.
Fall - Late Fall the road becomes inaccessible again so the only way to reach it would be via foot. For gear please see essentials for Spring.
Winter - Same gear as Spring and Fall.