Smith Rock State Park. One of Oregon’s Seven Wonders, and the first on our journey to document and highlight these Seven Wonders. Smith Rock State Park is an outdoor recreation heaven. Running, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, slackline or just to sit down and relax, whatever you are into, there is a good chance they have it at Smith Rock State Park.
Smith Rock is located in Terrebonne in Central Oregon. It is about 30 minutes north of Bend, OR. So if you are like me, this is a perfect spot to hike all day and then make your way down to Bend for a night of brewery tours (a dream day for me).
As for the history of Smith Rock, it was made from volcanic activity. If you want to learn more, head over to the wikipedia page. The simplified version is rock fell into a lava chamber, this rock and ash eventually solidified into new rock. This was eventually then covered by lava flows from nearby volcanos creating Smith Rock.
Anyways, on to the fun stuff. Smith Rock is probably best known for its rock climbing. It is considered the birthplace of US sport climbing. Thousands of climbers visit every year to tackle the 500+ climbing routes in Smith Rock State Park.
But the real excitement (at least for me) is the hiking. Smith Rock offers 600+ acres and 12 hiking trails for you to explore. But Misery Ridge Trail is what peaked my interest with going to Smith Rock. Misery Ridge is a loop that is about 3.8 miles long. It gets its name from the first 3/4 of a mile of the trail. Once you cross the Crooked River bridge and begin on Misery Ridge Trail, it has a steady, steep climb. You can expect to pass many hikers struggling with the steady climb and no shade in this beginning section. It truly is miserable. Also, when hiking this trail (or anywhere at Smith Rock) keep your eyes (and ears) out for rattlesnakes. They are seen regularly in the summer months.
Once you get past the first 3/4 of a mile, you will be at the top of Smith Rock and rewarded with spectacular views. On clear days, Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Black Butte, Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood will all be clearly visible. It is a stunning view.
When you begin the descent back to lower elevation, you will have a great view of Monkey Face. This is a rock formation that looks similar to a Monkeys Face. It is very popular for the slackliners and some of the more experienced rock climbers.
Overall, Smith Rock State Park is an amazing place in Central Oregon. It is obvious why it was chosen as one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders. It is such a unique landscape and offers so many different outdoor activities. This is one location I will never get sick of exploring!
|Parking||$5 Fee or State Park Pass|
|Notes||Heat can be a factor in Summer (no shade). Watch for Rattlesnakes|