Smith Rock - High Desert Gem

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Trip Report
North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jun 8, 2012
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Smith Rock - High Desert Gem
Created On: Jun 15, 2012
Last Edited On: Jun 16, 2012

Date of Trip: June 6 thru June 10, 2012

Monkey FaceMonkey Face
Just came back from visiting Redmond, Oregon. We had originally gone there to see Crater Lake and hike some of the trails around the lake. While looking up other things to do in Redmond we came across an article about Smith Rock. It looked very interesting, so we decided to take a side trip and see what Smith Rock was all about.

We flew out of Dallas June 6 to Seattle, with a connecting flight to Redmond. Our flight out of Dallas was delayed due to bad weather. We missed our flight to Redmond and had to stay in Seatle overnight. We were able to get a flight out on June 7 at 10:45am to Redmond. We got in Redmond around 11:45am. Redmond is a very clean, neat small town. Very friendly people live here. On one side you have views of The Three Sisters Mountians, Broken Top Mountain and Mount Jefferson. The weather when we arrived was in the 50’s. All the mountain tops were covered with snow. From our motel they were a beautiful sight.

We were too late to visit Crater Lake, so we decided to see what Smith Rock had to offer. It was about a 15 minute ride from Redmond. As you approach Smith Rock you can see the rock formation surrounded by other mountains. Smith Rock ‘s elevation is 3360 feet. Some of the other mountains surrounding Smith Rock are higher, but none are as scenic.

We pulled into the parking lot and were just awed by the scenic beauty of this park. (Might add that you have to pay $5.00 for a day parking pass, but it is well worth it.) By the time we arrived it was heading toward 4:00pm, but we decided to go for a small hike anyway.

To hike all of Smith Rock it is about a four mile hike. We decided, because it was getting late, to do a small hike just to see what the trail was like. We started hiking the north eastern part of the trail called the Misery Ridge Trail . This side of the trail is quite steep and has a lot of steps. We barely noticed how steep it was. The views were awesome. Crooked River flows at the bottom of Smith Rock. It was like a blue ribbon nearly circling the rock. With the creek and surrounding mountains, plus the sheer rock face of Smith Rock, it nearly takes your breath away. There is no bad view from this trail.

At the top of Smith Rock there is a map of the complete trail. From that trailhead map it was about three miles across the top of the rock, down the other side and back along Crooked River to the parking area. We felt we did not have enough time to complete the hike and returned back down the Misery Ridge Trail.

June 8th we had planned to visit Crater Lake, but upon calling the Crater Lake visitor center, we were informed that none of the trails were open yet. You could get to the visitor center and that was it. They had a lot of late snow and the trails were still snowed in. The decision was made to go back to Smith Rock and hike the complete trail. This time we started our hike by south west end of the trail.

This is called the River Trail as it follows the Crooked River for nearly two miles. I fell in love with this picturesque river. As we approached the foot path across the river we could see a Merganser duck with several little ones gliding on the water down the river. We were to find that this park has lots of wild life. Further down the river was a gaggle of geese swimming. On the other side of the river was a mule deer. Soaring above our heads we could identify a couple of eagles and several voltures. Flying, dipping and diving near the water were cliff swallows. On top of the rock were fat lizzards. We did see one snake, it was a garder snake (Thank God).

On River Trail it takes longer to get to the top of Smith Rock. This trail takes you around the foot of Smith Rock. On the other side of Smith Rock you leave the River Trail for the Mesa Verde Trail which will take you to the top of the rock. As you approach the Mesa Verde Trail you can see a rock formation called Monkey Face. It looks exactly like a monkey face. The Mesa Verde Trail will take you to the top of Smith Rock. When you reach the top of the rock you will be right behind Monkey Face. We spent a lot of time taking pictures while going up this trail. Just in awe of all the scenic breath taking views. We crossed over the top of the rock and back down Misery Ridge Trail. The complete trail took us about two hours. It is not a hard hike, a little steep, but just take your time and enjoy the sights.

If you ever get to Redmond, Oregon, please visit Smith Rock State Park, you will not be disappointed.
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Smith Rock - High Desert Gem

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