Oregon’s Spring Splendor at Smith Rock

June 12, 2012 (Updated July 22, 2016)

As we departed Kah-Nee-Ta Warm Springs Resort and continued along on our journey through Central Oregon’s high desert, we were filled with exciting thoughts about our next stop. We were heading towards Smith Rock State Park which is located in Terrebonne, approximately 50 miles from Kah-Nee-Ta.

“You will love it at Smith Rock. The scenery there is stunning.” a local at the resort told us before we left. “You’ll also see plenty of talented rock climbers and they are right there, just right above you and the sight of them is incredible.”

He was absolutely right. When we arrived, the dramatic rock formations seemed to rise straight up out of the ground right in front of our eyes. As we walked towards the trail head atop the ridge, we could see the rock climbers in the far distance and they looked like little specks from where we were. Down below in the canyon was the meandering Crooked River that just made this vision in front of us picture perfect.

Not only is this majestic, breathtaking park a mecca for rock climbers from all over the world, it is also a very pleasant place to visit for a nice rejuvenating hike down into a river canyon full of nature to marvel over. As we hiked down the trail we passed families with little children, happy couples with their (leashed) canine friends and exercise enthusiasts running the scenic trails. We crossed the bridge and walked along the river trail to where we would soon see the rock climbers, up close and personal.

“Look over there mommy!” Bradley spotted a climber in the distance. He was completely taken with what appeared before his eyes.

And so were we.

Wow, the climbers were so close!

We must have stood there gazing upwards at the talent in front of us for a good half hour and we were not the only ones. Everyone around us was absorbed in every move those climbers made. It was also very, very quiet. Which I am sure, the climbers appreciated.

Our afternoon spent at Smith Rock was full of happiness, excitement, awe and a general feeling of well-being all rolled into one. If you happen to be driving through Terrebonne, I highly recommend stopping here to take a break and have a moment to reconnect with nature.

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 The

Monica Bennett
Monica Bennett is the writer and photographer behind "Just 5 More Minutes - An Outdoor & Epicurean Travelogue," in Seattle, WA. On weekends and holidays she travels the Pacific Northwest via her Airstream travel trailer meeting new people and experiencing outdoor and epicurean adventures with her husband and son. These adventures are then told through a stunning photographic collage on J5MM where the pictures tell the story. Less than two years in existence J5MM has drawn in a large following and has been featured on sites such as Food52 (run by world renowned New York Times Magazine Food Editor Amanda Hessor), Williams-Sonoma, Full Circle Farms, The Huffington Post and many more. Educating her readers about non-stop outdoor adventures and epicurean cuisine here in the Pacific Northwest through J5MM is her true passion.