Destination: Exploring Smith Rock State Park
Mileage: 3.45 miles
Trailhead: Smith Rock State Park day-use area parking
Elevation: 2,640 up to 3,360 feet
I heard good things about Smith Rock State Park during my last trip to Bend, so this time around I put it at the top of the to-do list. Looking at the park map, Misery Ridge was the optimal trail for views and a loop. During the summer I recommend an early start, I wasn’t especially miserable climbing up the Misery Ridge Trail. However, after we looped around along the river, I watched folks just starting the climb with the rising temperatures and could guess how the trail got its name. To do this hike, park at the day-use area near the visitor center and head down The Chute to the footbridge and then up the Misery Ridge Trail. It’s a fairly short climb, but take your time and remember to pack water for you and your adventure pup. Also pack a leash, as they are required in the park.Once you reach the ridge, the Cascade views are sweeping. Rock climbers can be spotted throughout your hike, but stop at Monkey Face for an impressive show with front-row seats. Enjoy the impressive rock formations throughout the hike. After taking in the view from the top, head down the far side of the ridge to circle under Monkey Face and join the Mesa Verde Trail. Near the junction of the Mesa Verde Trial and the River Trail, there’s a nice spot for a snack down by the river. After a break, continue along the River Trail to complete the loop to the footbridge. Worth the early morning wake up call to explore a new area and some amazing rock!
Thank you to Compass for the photos.