7 Wonders of Oregon: Smith Rock
Smith Rock draws climbers from across the globe, and it’s considered by many to be the birthplace of American sport climbing. But there are many ways to see the high desert of Central Oregon. Here are a few of our favorite ways:
Ride: Central Oregon is a cycling and biking paradise. Mountain bikers will love Phil’s Trail just outside Bend or the Deschutes River Trail, which winds 18 miles along the river. Road bikers can take their pick of scenic rides along the Twin Bridges, Metolius River Loops, Madras Mountain Views or Sisters to Smith Rock scenic bikeways.
Golf: There are more than two dozen world-class golf courses in Central Oregon, and with 300 days of sun and little rainfall in the high desert climate, golfing is a year-round sport here. Check out the Crosswater Club at Sunriver or the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pronghorn Club & Resort.
Hike: Miles of trails run through the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, connecting the obsidian lava flows around the 18-mile Newberry Crater. Don’t miss a journey through the mile-long lava tube at the Lava River Cave.
Drink: You’ll find Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, Smith Rock Brewing and Phat Matt’s Brewing Company in Redmond, Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters, and 11 breweries and counting in Bend. Pick up a Bend Ale Trail passport before you start and collect stamps at each brewery you visit.
Climb: No visit to Central Oregon is complete without visiting Smith Rock, where thousands of routes draws climbers from across the globe. The 623 acres of Smith Rock State Park is also home to bald and golden eagles, mountain lions and deer, and draws visitors who come to walk or mountain bike its trails or to photograph the sun setting on its iconic spires.
Stay: Check out beautiful Brasada Ranch near Bend or FivePine Lodge in Sisters for a quiet retreat, or head to The Oxford Hotel, where you’re an easy walk from downtown Bend’s shops, restaurants and breweries.
Visiting Smith Rock State Park
- Smith Rock is an incredibly popular destination for hikers, bikers, climbers and sightseers, particularly in the summer. During the peak season and times, expect to find parking challenging and trails crowded.
- For the best experience, visit Smith Rock during the week and during the less busy seasons.
- Do your part to preserve Oregon’s natural wonders. Follow leave no trace principles and pack out your trash when you leave.
about author Emily Forsha
Emily Forsha is Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager. When she’s not road tripping around the state with her husband and two young boys, this proud native Oregonian is cooking up new recipes in her kitchen, sampling the latest craft brews and cheering on her beloved Oregon Ducks.
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