The state of Oregon certainly isn’t short on natural beauty. The blue waters of Crater Lake and the thunderous cascade of Multnomah Falls attract countless visitors each year. Those who know and love Oregon will happily tell you that Smith Rock State Park is one of Oregon’s finest natural wonders. Visitors can climb Golden rock formations created by long dormant volcanos, follow the course of the Crooked River, and enjoy blue skies in one of the sunniest spots in all of Oregon.
Oregon’s distinctive coastline receives endless fanfare, but some of the state’s most captivating terrain is the desert landscape that rises from the state’s interior. Many consider Smith Rock State Park to be the crown jewel of Oregon’s desert. Located squarely in the middle of the state near Redmond, Smith Rock State Park has nearly 300 days of sunshine a year.
In the early 1980’s, a climber named Alan Watts experimented with sports climbing on the cliffs of Smith Rock State Park and elevated the sport to a new level. Ever since, climbers from around the world have flocked to Smith Rock State Park to scale the park’s craggy rock formations. Smith Rock State Park is home to over 1,800 separate spots for daredevil climbers to perfect their skills.
Smith Rock State Park also features plenty of sedate hiking trails and a relaxed picnic area for those who are most interested in spending the evening gazing at Smith Rock State Park’s golden rocks during the golden hour. Visitors can also stand on the banks of the Crooked River and watch ducks and geese frolic in the distance.
Don’t be surprised if you see a horse trot by while you’re exploring Smith Rock State Park. A handful of tour companies offer horseback tours of Smith Rock State Park’s unique terrain. Trail running and mountain biking are also quite popular. Embark on a journey through the 3.4-mile trail located near Terrebonne, Oregon. With a moderate level of challenge, this trail typically takes about 1 hour and 27 minutes to complete. Several of Smith Rock State Park’s hiking trails are fairly steep, so be sure to pack plenty of water.
Smith Rock State Park may not have anywhere near as many visitors as Crater Lake or Multnomah Falls, but a lesser-known state park is the ideal place to soak in the true magic of the desert. The red rocks of Zion, Arches, and Bryce National Park are becoming increasingly crowded. A day spent exploring Smith Rock State Park will help you appreciate the serene, barren beauty of one of America’s most enchanting stretches of desert.