We visited Smith Rock State Park while spending a week in Bend, Oregon and it totally blew us away. A mecca for rock climbers, this park was centered around the incredible several hundred foot high rock formations along the Crooked River. Just the drive in will let you know you are in a special place.
We hiked The Chute, Misery Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde Trail, and River Trail to complete a 4.7 mile loop. Going counter-clockwise, the views going up Misery Ridge trail are simply incredible. Very steep grades and lots of steps, but worth the payoff! Mesa Verde trail on the way down was a little more tricky, with equally as steep grades but no stairs so you are just hoping the crumbly earth doesn’t give way – several of us slipped even though we were careful so if you don’t have great balance I’d skip that part.
Monkey rock is on the Mesa Verde Trail and interesting to see from the top – but we found it hysterical from the bottom as it really does look exactly like a huge monkey.
Once we were down to the river trail, hiking became easy with wonderful views and lots of rock climbers to cheer on as we walked.
There are a handful of other trails in the park, as well as day-use picnic areas and a first-come first-serve campground that is open in the summer months.
- Make sure to pay the minimal day-use fee at the kiosk near the parking lot
- Dogs are allowed on the trails here on leash
Funny story! The bathrooms at the bottom of The Chute were the talk of the day for our kids. Two-sided, one of them had a composting toilet that asked you to put wood chips in after you were done. The other side had something completely new to all of us: A toilet with a conveyor belt in it that you moved with your foot and it took everything away. To say this was entertaining for our tween and teen boys is an understatement!
Smith Rock State Park is a fantastic destination for a day or two of hiking and exploring, more if you have the equipment and skill to tackle a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of rock-climbing routes. If your travels take you near Bend, Oregon this is a worthwhile stop for sure!