Nestled in the heart of Central Oregon and just 30 miles north of Tetherow, Smith Rock State Park is a shimmering jewel for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Hundreds of Tetherow lodging guests visit there every year, and the park itself drew nearly 1,000,000 visitors in 2021. This breathtaking landscape, characterized by its towering basalt cliffs, winding river canyons, and diverse wildlife, invites visitors to lose themselves in its natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned rock climber aiming for the sky or a casual hiker seeking serene trails, there’s something at Smith Rock that appeals just to you.
Autumn is a special time to visit Smith Rock; the larger crowds of summer are gone and the mild breeze is a refreshing reminder of the cooler days. The parking lots can fill up quickly so we encourage visitors to go early in the day.
Smith Rock: A Haven for Climbers and Hikers
Smith Rock is renowned worldwide as a premier rock-climbing destination. Its sheer rock faces offer challenges for climbers of all skill levels, from beginner-friendly routes to some of the most demanding technical climbs. The park also boasts a network of hiking trails that guide wanderers through river canyons, along ridge tops, and to viewpoints that capture the park’s majesty. The Misery Ridge Trail (difficult but so worth it!) rewards those who conquer its steep switchbacks with unparalleled panoramic views of the Cascade Mountain Range. You might even see slackliners (tight rope walkers) on Monkey Face!
A Tapestry of Nature and Wildlife at Smith Rock
Beyond the thrill of adventure, Smith Rock State Park serves as a peaceful home for a variety plants and critters. The Crooked River, winding its way through the park’s base, is part of an ecosystem rich with life. Birdwatchers can spot golden eagles, prairie falcons, and the occasional osprey. Meanwhile, ground-dwellers like mule deer, river otters, and beavers can be glimpsed if one treads softly and keeps a keen eye.
Smith Rock has Activities for All
If the members of your party are at different abilities or interests, Smith Rock State Park is still a great option! In addition to the hiking and rock climbing, it has a lovely picnic area that requires very minimal walking from the parking area. Sitting along the river and skipping stones is a relaxing way to take in the area’s beauty. Accessing the canyon area of Smith Rock State Park is not easily accessible by wheelchairs and strollers unless they have specialty “off-road” tires. If so, take Canyon Trail (it’s paved). This is a dog-friendly area but they need to be leashed and please pick up after them!
A visit to Smith Rock State Park is a must-do on your next trip to Bend, OR. Please ask our friendly front desk team for additional information or for other great recommendations.