Highlights: View, River, Cliffs, Rock Climbing, Camping, Birds
Smith Rock State Park is a gorgeous hiking, camping, and rock climbing area in Eastern Oregon, closest to the city of Redmond. When we took our trip to Smith Rock, it was early March and the weather was absolutely perfect. Spring and Fall are great times to go, and Summer as well if you can stand the heat. We spent a night camping as well, and it was just warm enough to be comfortable without serious camping gear.
There are about 10 miles of hiking trails at Smith Rock. A detailed hiking map is available, courtesy of oregonstateparks.org. For those looking for an easy, mostly flat hike, I recommend the homestead trail and the wolf tree trail (each one mile), which together form a loop. Also the river trail is a nice longer hike along the west side of the rock, following a long length of the crooked river without any climbing.
The route we took was: “The Chute”, a quick 500 ft drop into the canyon, crossed the river and took Misery Ridge trail to the summit, passed by Monkey face, and headed down the Mesa Verde trail, connected to the river trail and looped all the way back to the beginning. It took a few hours but was not too strenuous, just a bit scary hiking up the switchbacks on Misery Ridge.
I would highly recommend everyone do this hike at least once. If anything, just come to watch the crazy rock climbers hundreds of feet up on almost every cliff face. The views from the top are amazing. The river is also beautiful scenery.
The walk-in camping area is also one of the best in Oregon. We were able to walk in about a quarter mile and pitch our tent in the perfect spot, just on the edge of the canyon. We had a prime view of an active Bald Eagle Nest and a great sunset.
Put this one on your bucket list and bring lots of water!