written by Bronte Dod | photos by Rob Kerr


Crack in the Ground is a 2-mile-long fissure on the surface of the earth, caused by eruptions in the Four Craters Lava Field thousands of years ago. The trailhead starts at the end of the gravel Crack in the Ground Road about 103 miles south of Bend. You can hike through the narrow canyon, scrambling over sharp rocks and boulders and squeezing through the narrow passages along the way.

At a depth of 70 feet in some spots, Crack in the Ground maintains a lower average temperature than its surroundings. Local lore claims that residents have made ice cream from ice in the crevice that often remains well into summer. By contrast, the arid landscape of the high desert keeps the formation clear and empty, making it a natural anomaly. Go beyond the first half-mile to fully explore Crack in the Ground. While you’re in the area, stop by Fort Rock as well.

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