Smith Rock Hikes
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7 COOLEST Smith Rock Hikes to Tackle!

I’m sure you’ve been here, our adventure-loving friend—Hiking for hours and hours to finally make it to the epic location you knew was waiting for you. You breathe a sigh of relief, take a gulp of water, and bust out your snacks. You’re happy you made it, but man, did you have to WORK for it!

The hikes at Smith Rock State Park are NOT like that. You’ll get great views from the moment you step out of your vehicle, and they only get better and better the further you hike.

A view from the Misery Ridge Trail. Just one of the amazing hikes on our list below.

With roughly 650 acres of terrain to explore, the trails in Smith Rock provide sensational views of meandering rivers, geologic wonders and an abundance of wildlife. Trek along the river, admire the rock cathedrals dotting the landscape and be prepared to work for some heart-racing vistas.

Here are our seven favorite Smith Rock hikes!


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Best Smith Rock Hikes

If you’re wondering what else there is here, make sure to check out our full guide to Smith Rock State Park!

1. Misery Ridge Trail

Distance: 2.6 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 1,138 Feet

Misery Ridge trail is probably the most famous Smith Rock hike. It’s short, if not easy, and the views are fantastic the entire way. You’ll wander past towering rock spires and climbers ascending the Monkey Face slab, and from the top, the vistas are unmatched.

Garrett took a break and enjoyed what he saw after he’d been facing down, huffing on the initial onslaught of switchbacks of Misery Ridge Trail.
Smith Rock State Park is one of the best things to do near Sisters
Once at the top, you will see amazing views on the other side of the canyon, along with a front-seat view of Monkey Face. A world-famous rock climbing pitch.

There are also several connector trails jutting out from the main Misery Ridge Trail, so you have the option to extend your hike and take a new route back if you want to.

This is not only our favorite Smith Rock hike, it’s pretty much everybody! Even though it does kind of kick your a$$!

2. Rim Rock Trail

Distance: 1.0 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 22 Feet

Rim Rock Trail is a short and sweet hike and a breath of fresh air compared to the steep climb of the Misery Ridge Trail. Hikers of all skill levels can unwind on the flat terrain and capture the breathtaking vistas. If you are looking for a high reward with minimal effort, this is the trail to follow.

Nina sitting on a bench admiring the view of the canyon.
Picnic benches are sprinkled throughout the park so you can sit and enjoy the views or take a break from all the cool hikes.

Watch the Crooked River snake across the landscape as colossal spires soar to the sky on both sides and scan the horizon to see the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades.

TIP: There are a few picnic tables and benches on this route, which make for a good place to rest while admiring the view.

RELATED: An Adventurer’s Guide to Things to Do in Bend, Oregon

3. Smith Rock State Park Canyon Trail

Distance: 3.4 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 452 Feet

Trek alongside the Crooked River and spot rock climbers summiting craggy spires on the Smith Rock State Park Canyon Trail. This is a must-see hike to get a close glimpse of the converging grasslands and canyon walls right along the banks of the river.

The path is also teeming with wildlife, so don’t be surprised to come across snakes or eagles soaring above you.

Canyon Trail is another fun Smith Rock hike.

Elevation gain is moderate but should not pose an issue for more experienced hikers. Crowds may be a deterrent, though, especially during peak season. We hardly saw anyone during late fall.

TIP: Try to hit the trail early in the morning or during the weekday for a more peaceful experience.

4. The Chute

Distance: .5 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 167 Feet

Also known as The Grunt, The Chute is a short but tough trek that leads to all the main Smith Rock hikes.

This is an alternative route to Canyon Trail, which is a bit longer but quite a lot easier. Both offer great views, so it really just comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a short but grueling trail, the Chute is the one for you!

5. Crooked River Trail

Distance: 4.5 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 321 Feet

Get an intimate view of the Crooked River on this enchanting Smith Rock hike. The Crooked River Trail follows the winding path of the river and rewards you with impeccable views of Smith Rock’s unique geologic features, including the famous Monkey Face.

Instant views at the beginning of the trail as you wander through the canyon.

As you hike, you’ll wander through all sorts of landscapes, including pine forests, sagebrush, rugged canyons, and radiant wildflowers. The path is well-maintained, but proper boots are advised since parts of the inclined sections have lots of gravel. Trekking poles are also a good idea if you have any sort of knee issues.

One of the best hikes on the Misery Ridge Trail is along the Crooked River.
Us hiking along the Crooked River Trail with Monkey Face in the distance.

This is among the best Smith Rock hikes to spot wildlife and you’ll likely see otters, beavers, mule deer, geese, bald and golden eagles, rattlesnakes and much more!

TIP: Start your day early to beat the blazing heat and witness a colorful sunrise brighten the landscapes.

6. Wolf Tree Trail

Distance: 2.7 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 406 Feet

You might be ready for an easy hike after finishing up Misery Ridge Trail. If so, Wolf Tree Trail is a great option. You’ll follow the Crooked River to the north, with fantastic views of the Monument (one of the most famous rock faces in the park).

A View of the Monument at Smith Rock
A view of the Monument at Smith Rock State Park.

The trail picks up where the River Trail drops off, and it’s a lot more quiet. This makes it a great route for wildlife watching—Keep your eyes peeled for river otters, muskrats, geese and more as you hike. Once you finish the trail, you can head back the way you came or continue onto the Burma Road Loop.

7. North Point Loop

Distance: .4 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 3 Feet

North Point Loop is one of the easiest Smith Rock Hikes. It’s short, and it’s flat, but it’s far from boring! The trail starts in the northern end of the park, which sees a lot less traffic than the main entrance. You likely won’t encounter a whole lot of people, just some fantastic views and probably some wildlife.

Be sure to look out for these cool-looking twisted trees while hiking at Smith Rock.

As you hike, you’ll see sagebrush, juniper, and tall rock formations jutting up in the distance. The viewpoint faces the lovely Crooked River and offers a different perspective than most of the other hikes (as it sits on the other side of the water).

TIP: You can extend this hike by hopping on the Homestead Trail.

Tips For Hiking in Smith Rock State Park

  1. Start Early or Late: To avoid the crowds and the heat during peak season, start your hike early in the morning or later towards the evening. This also gives you the best light for photography.
  2. Watch Your Step: The area is home to rattlesnakes, especially in warmer months. Stay on trails, watch where you step or place your hands, and give any snakes you encounter plenty of space.
  3. Pack for the Microclimates: Weather can vary significantly between the canyon floor and the higher elevations. Layer your clothing to adjust to changing temperatures.
  4. Bring Plenty of Water: There are limited sources of drinking water available in the park, so bring enough to stay hydrated.
  5. Leave No Trace: Stay on designated trails to protect the fragile desert ecosystem. Pack out all trash, and follow leave-no-trace principles to keep the park pristine for wildlife and future visitors.
  6. Watch for Birds of Prey: The park is a great place to spot golden eagles, prairie falcons, and other birds of prey. Bring binoculars and a bird guidebook if you’re interested in bird watching.
Hiking Smith Rock during sunset.
If you want a special treat, make sure to come during sunset.
  1. Respect Climbing Areas: If you’re hiking near climbing routes, be mindful of climbers above you. Avoid walking under people as they climb, and be careful not to disturb ropes or equipment.
  2. Check Park Conditions: Before you go, check the park’s official website for the latest on trail conditions, closures, and weather forecasts.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Fueled: Along with water, bring snacks or a meal high in protein.
  4. Explore Less Traveled Paths: While popular trails like Misery Ridge are a must-see, don’t overlook less crowded paths!

We hope this helped you plan for all the great hikes in Smith Rock State Park!

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