Vertical Sensations

Just a short drive north of Redmond, Smith Rock State Park is more than just a world-class rock climbing mecca. Stunning scenery delivers a setting ideal for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and much more.

Here in Redmond, we have one of the world’s best rock climbing destinations right in our own backyard. In fact, with more than 1,800 climbing routes, including some that are legendary in the climbing world, Smith Rock State Park is known throughout the world as a premier rock climbing destination.

Though it draws world-class climbers from across the globe, Smith Rock offers challenges for every level of climber — even beginners. On a typical sunny day, casual hikers and curious onlookers can catch a glimpse of climbers peppering the cliffs that rise high in the park. The amazing strength, raw determination, measured patience of rock climbers is certainly a site to behold.

For those of you who would rather keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, Smith Rock offers visitors plenty of breathtaking options for enjoying its views and features. Situated on the banks of the Crooked River, Smith Rock is a 651-acre state park that boasts unique geological formations, wildlife, breathtaking vistas, and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.

The park also features a walk-in bivouac campground, access trails, restrooms and shower facilities. For day-use visitors, Smith Rock offers a generous picnic area with lots of shade trees, tables and ample lawn for spreading out a blanket or letting the kids run wild.

Misery Ridge Trail

One of the most popular Smith Rock experiences is a hike up Misery Ridge Trail, a walk that's not for the faint of heart but that, in the end, will offer you amazing views of the park, the high desert countryside and the peaks of the Cascade Range.

The base of the Misery Ridge Trail is just across the Crooked River footbridge. This breathtaking trail, which climbs and zig-zags 900 feet in elevation in less than 1 mile, is part of a 3.6-mile loop around the headland’s tip.

The trail is well-maintained with steps where you need them, though there are some places where sure feet, the hand of a hiking companion or a walking stick would be nice. At the top, a 360-degree panoramic view of Central Oregon unfolds — really an amazing site.

Taking Misery Ridge down the back side will lead directly past the landmark Monkey Face Rock. Walk slowly as the trail can be a bit slippery with loose shale. Once off the slope, follow the trail along the river, around the rock, and back to where you started. You will be delighted with your accomplishment.

This hike is rated difficult, but it's one you will remember for the rest of your life. Oh, and don't forget your camera!