View from overlook on Misery Ridge Trail
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Misery Ridge Trail—Smith Rock State Park’s BEST Hike!

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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

Make sure you check out our other related guides:

A map showing the Misery Ridge Trails.
Here’s the map for Misery Ridge Trail routes—this map can be found at the trailhead.

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
Difficulty: Hard
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.

A shot to show how steep Misery Ridge Trail gets.
A shot to show just how steep Misery Ridge Trail gets.
Rewarding views of Misery Ridge Trail.
But the views are well worth the sweat.

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.

View of Monkey Face, a famous rock wall for climbers at the end of Misery Ridge Trail.
A famous rock climbing wall called Monkey Face is viewable once you reach the top of Misery Ridge.

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.


RELATED: 17+ Badass Bend Hikes to Conquer During Your Visit


Misery Ridge and Summit Trail Loop

Distance: 6.2 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
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.

Get these stunning views from the summit on the Misery Ridge Trail.
You can get this stunning view from the summit on the Misery Ridge Trail.

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
Difficulty: Hard
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

Mesa Verde Trail connects you from Misery Ridge Trail to the River Trail.
The Mesa Verde trail descends to the River Trail from Misery Ridge.

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.

River Trail along crooked river.
Nina hiking along the River Trail.

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.

We’ve explored Smith Rock State Park countless times, and it’s one of our favorite state parks in Oregon! Don’t miss out on this trail or any of the other things to do in Bend!

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