If you’re a serious trekker up for a challenge, the Misery Ridge trail is a must. Conquer this beast, and you’ll understand why Smith Rock was named one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon (and why this is a favorite hike in Bend)!
Don’t be fooled by the short length—Misery Ridge Trail is steep enough to put this 2.6-mile hike into the “hard” category. It’s not named “misery” without merit! If you want more epic views, there are plenty of other connector trails available along this route to keep you trekking all day long.
Guide to Misery Ridge Trail + Deviations
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Make sure you check out our other related guides:
Misery Ridge Trai is undoubtedly the darling of Smith Rock State Park. It’s the most popular trail in the area, mostly due to the fantastic views that can be seen as you hike.
But don’t call it quits after tackling the main trail—there are several connector trails along this route that offer more
cramp-inducing elevation gains fantastic views.
Here’s the low-down on Misery Ridge Trail and all the deviations available.
Misery Ridge Trail
Distance: 2.6 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 1,138 Feet
Short, rugged, and awe-inspiring views are the perfect way to sum up the main Misery Ridge Trail. With over 1,100 feet in elevation gain and a 3,360-foot summit, you certainly need to be in at least a moderate hiking shape.
The rocky trail is aided by steps, but trekking poles are recommended for anyone with weak knees. As you get closer to the summit, the panoramic views of the craggy pinnacles and winding river just keep getting better.
Scramble along the ridge to get the perfect angle of climbers ascending Monkey Face, one of the most adventurous rock faces in Smith Rock. From the summit, you’ll also see the Crooked River snaking through the canyon.
Take a deep breath in, and enjoy the scent of juniper before heading back down.
NOTE: Hikers will be happy to know that the Misery Ridge Trail is tailored to them. Mountain bikers and horses are not allowed here.
Misery Ridge and Summit Trail Loop
Distance: 6.2 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 1,761 Feet
The easiest way to continue your adventure on the Misery Ridge trail is by adding the Summit Trail loop. This will add a few more miles to your hike, but the vistas of rocky spires, canyon walls, and rising peaks on the horizon will keep you distracted from the climb.
The loop meanders around the backside of Monkey Face, and you make your descent along several switchbacks. You’ll hike alongside the river part of the way before returning to the bridge at the Misery Ridge Trail.
Misery Ridge and River Trail
Distance: 3.6 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 908 Feet
Complete the uphill climb of the Misery Ridge Trail before enjoying the scenic stroll to the Crooked River along the River Trail. Once you complete your summit, you’ll stand above stony pinnacles while forests, grasslands, and mountains dot the surrounding landscapes
Follow a series of switchbacks on your descent, and eventually, you’ll stand behind Monkey Face. Use caution on your way down, as parts of the trail tend to be slippery. Eventually, the path flattens out along the river for a smooth journey to the rest of the loop.
Other Smith Rock Hikes
Don’t let the fun end after you’re done exploring the Misery Ridge Trail! There are tons of other Smith Rock hikes nearby that offer a whirlwind of majestic high desert scenery.
And the park as a whole offers a lot more than just hiking, check our full guide to Smith Rock State Park.
Oregon native and explorer at heart. Loves tackling expeditions around the world and drinking a good beer at the end of the day. PNW obsessed, VW nerd, and surf or snow riding fanatic.