- Trip Name: Smith Rock State Park
- Trip Length: Varies, Less than 1 - 8 miles
- Trip Time: Varies, 0.5 - 4 hours
- Best time to visit: Spring to fall (Park open year round)
- Difficulty rating: 1 - 8
- Views: 8
- Wilderness experience: 3
- Recommended activities: Day hike
- Best for: Hikers, families, dogs (leash required)
- Restroom: Yes
- Permit: Oregon State Park Day Use Permit ($5 payable on-site, 12-month and 24-month passes also available)
- Recommended Map: Smith Rock SP Trail Map
- Click here to check out our photos from this hike
- Click here to download this Trail Guide as a PDF
Driving Directions from Bend:
Travel Time: 40 minutes
Head north on Highway 97 and follow it for about 22 miles through Redmond and into Terrebonne. Take a right onto NW Smith Rock Way and follow it for 1.6 miles. Just after a cemetery on your right turn left onto NE 17th Street. Follow it to the end in 0.5 mile and turn right onto NE Lambert Road. In another 0.5 mile turn left onto NE Crocked River Drive and in 0.7 mile Smith Rock State Park will be on your left. (Once into Terrebonne all turns are marked by a brown Oregon State Park sign)
Smith Rock State Park is one of the most popular day trip destinations in Central Oregon. Most locals and many visitors have spent time here. The greatest part about Smith Rock is the endless options for hiking and watching the brave souls rock climbing. Most people that visit make their way down to the Crooked River and follow the River Trail or climb their way over the Misery Ridge Trail. On our last visit to Smith Rock we found our way onto the newest trail in the park, the Summit Trail, which we will describe here. Because this trail just opened in the Spring of 2013 many people haven't found it yet.
Like almost all of the trials in Smith Rock State Park you start from the parking area and head down to the Crooked River descending nearly 200 feet either on The Chute trail or the longer but less steep Canyon Trail. Once at the river there is a foot bridge that will get you to the other side where the trails start to branch out. After crossing the river take a right to follow the Wolf Tree Trail. This trail will lead you along the river's edge for just under a mile until it meets up with the Burma Road Trail.
Taking a left on the Burma Road Trail you will begin your ascent to the Summit Ridge. There are a few short switchbacks as you pass Staender Ridge and in 0.2 mile you will merge onto a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Road. This is actually Burma Road. Turn left onto Burma Road and in just 100 feet you pass over an irrigation canal that disappears into a tunnel under Smith Rock.
A third of a mile after crossing over the canal, Burma Road switches back to the left. Continue to follow the road here despite the small brown sign that says closed. At this switchback there is also a small trail that leads to a climbing wall which you don't want to take either. Following Burma Road for another 0.5 mile you will gain 400 vertical feet and reach the trail's high point at 3,580 feet.
At the obvious top of the ridge you will leave Burma Road and turn left onto the Summit Trail. From this small ridge there are fantastic views across the Crooked River back towards the main walls of Smith Rock. After a very short walk on this ridge you will cross over to the north side and begin descending along many switchbacks with great views to the north and the west. In 1.4 miles, after dropping 560 vertical feet, you come to a signed trail intersection with a short side trail that leads to a very worthwhile viewpoint which is also a great spot for a break in the shade of a juniper tree.
Just under one mile after leaving the viewpoint you will wind your way back around and connect back into the main trail network on the west side of Smith Rock in the shadow of Monkey Face, the park's most famous pillar that has some of the most difficult rock climbing routes in the world. You will come to an intersection with the Mesa Verde Trail and the River Trail. Here there are several options as follows: One- If you have had enough uphill travel for the day the River Trail follows the Crooked River, around the Southern Tip and in about 2 miles you will be back at the footbridge you originally crossed the river on.
Two - If you'd like to get an up-close view of some of the rock climbers in the park, take a sharp left at the intersection and following the Mesa Verde Trail will take you along the base of some of the most popular climbing walls in the park before joining up with the River Trail. This route is just over two miles from the trail intersection back to the foot bridge.
Three - If you still have some climbing left in you going up and over Misery Ridge is a good way to get back to the footbridge. From the trail intersection take the left onto the Mesa Verde Trail and then in a third of a mile take the left onto the Misery Ridge Trail. From the trail intersection to the top of Misery Ridge you will gain 600 vertical feet in about a half a mile. From the top of the ridge there are sweeping views in all directions including back across the river to Burma Road. After crossing along the ridge you will quickly loose the 600 feet you just gained going back down to the footbridge. This route covers about 1.3 miles from the trail intersection back to the footbridge.
Whichever path you choose to get back to the footbridge you will have one more climb back to the parking lot by either The Chute or the Canyon Trail. Once back at the parking lot there are many picnic tables spread out in the shade of the trees to have a late lunch or just a quick break before heading back to your car. The new Visitors Center located in the yurt in the park is also worth checking out. There are fun maps of the park and local artifacts for viewing.
Please let us know how your hike went and share some of your photos on our Facebook page!