Climber at Smith Rock
- Moderate (across Misery Ridge) 4-mile loop
- 800 feet elevation gain
- Open all year
- Use: hikers only
Smith Rock juts from the Central Oregon lava plains like an orange-sailed ship in the desert. Oregon’s most popular rock-climbing area, this state park challenges mountaineers with 3 miles of rhyolite cliffs and Monkey Face, a 300-foot-tall natural sculpture overhanging on all sides.
Hikers can experience Smith Rock’s scenic drama too. For an easy trip, walk along the aptly named Crooked River as it curls past the base of Monkey Face. For a steep shortcut back, climb a new loop beside Monkey Face across Misery Ridge to cliff-edge views of a string of Cascade snowpeaks. The area is best in early spring, when high desert wildflowers bloom. Just avoid July and August when the park bakes in 100-degree heat.
To drive to the park, turn off Highway …
Ignore a fork to the right …
For a more challenging 6.3-mile loop, hike the …
This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.