Find Your Happy Place at Smith Rock

Smith Rock State Park

Your next adventure is just 40 minutes away from home at PointsWest.

My pack was overflowing with ropes, draws, chalk, and other various paraphernalia as I tromped down the steep switchbacks to the “Morning Glory” wall at Smith Rock State Park. The nine o’clock sunshine glinted off the surface of the Crooked River that winds through the towering cliffs, illuminating the cracks and crannies of the rock that shone bright against the blue Central Oregon sky.

I started to pick up the pace on our descent, but the slippery gravel slowed me down, forcing me to wait even longer to reach the base of the route that now seemed so far away. Like a kid approaching a playground, I couldn’t wait to get on that rock—to challenge my limits, get that adrenaline rush, and experience nature in new and exciting ways.

I was accompanied by a fun and supportive group of fellow rock climbing enthusiasts – a guy who had just come back from a year of teaching skiing in Austria, a yoga instructor from Salt Lake City, and a student at Montana State who spends his days off snowboarding down cliffs and chutes at Big Sky.

But we were just a handful among the crowd that was scattered around the park on this day. People from all over the world come to Smith, many living at the “bivy” campsite for months at a time to get the most climbing in. A couple on the route next to us casually slipped in that they had come here from New Zealand to train for a national competition. No big deal.

My posse wasn’t nearly as experienced as those people. But you don’t need any experience at all to enjoy the park. Climbing lessons are offered through Smith Rock Climbing School for groups and families for as little as $85 per day. They are tailored to provide all members of the family – from the grandkids to the grandparents – with a unique and personalized opportunity to get outside and try something new.

Beyond that, Smith is a Mecca for so much more than just rock climbing! I am always faced with the decision of what activity I want to do when I get out there. First of all, a network of trails follows the river through the park perfect for walking your dog or trail running. On a more challenging level, Misery Ridge is a popular hike that reaches the summit of Smith Rock and treats visitors to sweeping views of the Cascade range past Monkey Face Rock.

Of course, even if you’re not up for a challenge at all, you can still enjoy spending a day in this peaceful sanctuary just 40 minutes from PointsWest. The grassy area on the bluff adjacent to the parking lot is a perfect spot to take in all the spectacular scenery. Bring a picnic lunch and pair of binoculars so you can watch all the climbing action on the other side of the river.

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