Where is Smith Rock State Park
Known as a rock climber’s paradise, Smith Rock State Park is located in central Oregon in the state’s high desert region. Smith Rock US State Park is consistently referred to as the birthplace of what is known today as American sport climbing. The park is also a popular destination for individuals interested in traditional climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and bouldering. Smith Rock State Park is located about two and a half hours away from Portland or Eugene. Bend, Oregon is only a thirty-minute drive from the park.
How Big is Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park rests entirely in Oregon’s high desert region. The park covers over 600 acres and contains several rock faces. The most popular rock faces include Christian Brothers, Monkey Face, The Dihedrals, and The Marsupials. The park also offers its visitors several hiking opportunities. The two main trails in the park include the Summit Trail and Misery Ridge. The park is open year-round but is busiest during the summer season. The park’s namesake, Smith Rock, sits over 3,000 feet above sea level.
Smith Rock State Park Weather
Located in a northern desert, Smith Rock State Park experiences cold winters and scorching summers. Summer is a popular time for visitation to the park. Peak temperatures arrive around July and August and approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, Smith Rock State Park only receives around 30 days of rain per year. Winters in the park are not as severe as more northern parks, but Smith Rock still experiences low temperatures. The park’s lowest temperatures appear in December and January and they approach 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Springs and Falls in the park are quite mild. Starting in September, summer temperatures begin to recede from the park and winter begins to thaw around late March or early May.
When did Smith Rock become a State Park
The state of Oregon obtained the land now known as Smith Rock State Park between the years of 1960 and 1975. The origin of the park’s name has long been a mystery. Though, through the years several theories as to its relation and meaning have been investigated. These stories include characters such as a Sheriff with the last name Smith who worked in the area and a soldier who died near the rock.
Things to do in Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park offers its visitors opportunities to rock climb, hike, mountain bike, and spot wildlife. Below are some of the most popular trails, rock climbing routes, and other enjoyable adventures List of Parks suggests.
The Summit Trail or Summit Loop within Smith Rock State Park starts at the park’s welcome center and is a 7.3-mile round trip hike. This trail allows visitors to become acquainted with the entire park.
Misery Ridge Trail
A short summit hike, the Misery Ridge trail offers hikers in Smith Rock State Park inspiring views and grand memories. The trail connects to the River Trail for hikers looking to extend their hike past the 3.5-mile mark.
There are several rock climbing routes present on Christian Brothers. The rock formation is made up of walls such as the prophet wall, the beard, and the testament slab. This Smith Rock formation features several sport routes and one traditional route.
Home to the climber favorite Just Do It route, The Monkey Face extends 350 feet above sea level. The monkey face has also been used as a slackline area by adventurous climbers who have attached a line between it and the diving board formation.
Featuring several easy routes that have become classics through the years, the Dihedrals is one of the more popular climbing areas in the park. The routes on this formation include the cinnamon slab, bunny face, and many more.
The most isolated climbing area in the park, the marsupial formation requires climbers to first hike on the Wolf Tree trail. The main areas on this formation include Koala Rock and The Wombat.
Smith Rock State Park contains one campground that allows tent camping only. The campground is located near the park’s main road. Camping in the park is on a first come, first serve basis only and costs eight dollars per night.
Several areas within Smith Rock State Park offer visitors opportunities to learn about the park’s many geological features. Look for information exhibits scattered throughout the park and visit the park’s visitor center for more information.
Mammalian species present in Smith Rock State Park include mule deer, beavers, and river otters. The park is also home to several bird species including canyon wrens, white-throated swifts, prairie falcons, and peregrine falcons.
When to go to Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is enjoyed by visitors on a year-round basis. However, the majority of its visitation occurs in the summer months that provide warm temperatures and sunshine. Climbers looking to avoid crowded days in the park, will want to venture to Smith Rock State Park in the spring and fall. Winter is also a good time to visit the park. Though, temperatures in the park can reach lows of 25 degrees.
Must-Have things to bring to Smith Rock State Park
Listed below are several things Our National Park Visitors Guide suggests you should consider bringing on your trip to Smith Rock State Park. Additional lists of recommended items can be found on the park’s website.
Every climber, hiker, and wildlife enthusiast traveling to Smith Rock State Park will want to bring a plentiful amount of water with them. Summer temperatures in the park can have a devastating effect on dehydrated visitors. Campers spending the night in the park will want to bring extra.
Energy filled snacks and food will become your best friend in Smith Rock State Park. There are very few opportunities to secure food near the park. Therefore, campers looking to spend the night in the park should bring all of their meals and water with them to the park.
Hiking in Smith Rock State Park can be treacherous. The environment of the park is rather isolated and features various levels of terrain. A sturdy pair of hiking boots is recommended for anyone looking to venture out on the park’s hiking trails. Climbers will also want to remember their climbing shoes.
In addition to hiking boots and climbing shoes, hikers will also want to bring all of their climbing equipment with them. Repair equipment should also be brought to the park, for there are very little opportunities in the area for supplies.
Layers of Clothing
Temperatures in the desert vary greatly throughout the course of any given day. Afternoon temperatures can reach scorching heights, whereas nightly lows can approach 50’s, 40’s, and even 30’s.
Wildlife enthusiasts should bring along their binoculars to spot the park’s many avian species flying over top of the park’s various rock formations. Binoculars are also a worthy investment for any hiker.
Various maps of Smith Rock State Park can be found online. These maps detail the park’s various hiking trails and rock formations. More specialized climbing maps can be found on various websites.
Where to Stay in Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park contains one campground. The campground within the park offers tent camping sites only. Visitors looking to spend the night in the park will need to purchase a camping permit from the fee station near the campground. Camping in the park costs $8 per night. Visitors to the park looking for a hotel or Airbnb site should set their sights on Bend, Oregon. The city is only a half hour drive away from the park.
Food Nearby Smith Rock State Park
Hungry climbers and hikers will want to make the thirty-minute drive to Bend. The city contains a wide array of restaurants and breweries offering delicious meals and refreshing brews. Bend is widely known as a hiker and climber led town. Various businesses in the city are hiker owned and ran.
Airports Near Smith Rock State Park
The closest airport to Smith Rock State Park is located in Portland, Oregon. The Portland International Airport is about 140 miles away from the park. The drive to the airport is over two and a half hours away from Smith Rock State Park.