With over 1,800 climbing routes of every degree, Smith Rock State Park draws climbers of all abilities to its sheer, volcanic walls. For those less vertically inclined, the park also contains numerous hiking trails along the Crooked River and around many of the towering spires and rock formations.
Access to Smith Rock’s trails starts at a viewpoint near the picnic shelter, with a wide track making an easy descent to the Crooked River. A quicker set of short switchbacks called “The Chute” leads to the same point, but bypasses some of the farther views. After crossing the bridge, turn right (west) and begin on the River Trail. For 2 miles, this level trail meanders along between the Crooked River and many of the named climbing walls (Morning Glory, The Dihedrals, Christian Bros.) passes beneath Asterisk Pass, and rounds the back side of the Smith Rock Group.
After passing below Asterisk Pass from the other side, the trail forks; left to continue along the Crooked River, and right up the Mesa Verde Trail to the base of Monkey Face, a 350-foot rock pillar boasting the “Just Do It” route, one of the most difficult 5.14c climbs in the world. Take the right fork (northeast) for 0.3 mile and cast your gaze skyward, looking for climbers. As you gain elevation, the views start to open up. At the crest of the Mesa Verde Trail, come to a junction with the west side of the Misery Ridge Trail and start climbing.
Quicky gain 400 feet on a series of switchbacks to the trail summit atop Smith Rock, offering panoramic views of the Central Oregon Cascades, including Broken Top, Three Sisters and Mt. Washington. To achieve the actual summit 60 feet higher, look for a faint use trail through the brush to the top; or for a face-to-face with the Monkey Face, sidetrack on a short, steep trail to the edge of the outcrop directly opposite. After taking in the view from the top, contour around to the east side and the upper reach of Misery Ridge. The rapid descent from here is steep on narrow, rocky steps and switchbacks, passing beneath Red and Picnic Lunch Walls, and finally depositing you at the bridge junction where you started.
From here, further exploration can be had on the Wolf Tree and Homestead Trails, or simply return to your starting point via the same route.
MORE INFO: Oregon State Parks
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo