Smith Rock State Park, Misery Ridge Trail – Explore Bend

Welcome to Smith Rock State Park!

Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park is one of my favorite winter hikes! Smith Rock is located in Terrebonne, Oregon (30 minutes north of Bend) and it is a great spot to enjoy some sunshine along with stunning scenic views. Smith Rock offers a number of outdoor adventures, but today’s post focuses on Misery Ridge Trail.

The Nitty Gritty

Distance: 3.7 miles from Visitor Center and back

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 1,506 ft. (from Visitor Center)

Recommended travel direction: Counter-clockwise if walking, clockwise if running.

Important Info:

  • Dogs are allowed on the trail.
  • You will need an Oregon State Parks pass ($30 for an annual or $5 for a day-use pass). They sell annual passes at the Visitor Center and they also have a kiosk in the parking lot that sells day-use only passes.
  • Especially in the warmer months, start your hike early! The day gets hot quickly and there is little to no shade on the entire trail. Even in the winter, we like to get an early start to avoid the crowds.
  • Don’t forget plenty of water and pack the sunscreen!
  • A lot of hikes I do are kid-friendly, but this is not one of them. There is a lot of loose gravel (scree) up and down the climbs and sheer drops all along the way. I personally don’t feel comfortable bringing my younger children (ages 6 and under) along, but possibly older, more mindful children are good to go!
  • There are a couple bathrooms along the trail. One is right at the beginning by the Chute and the other is along the River Trail, so plan accordingly!

The view from the starting point.

We took the Chute Trail. It’s a shorter route to the beginning of Misery Ridge Trail vs taking the Canyon Trail route, but both will get you to the same destination.

We chose to hike the trail counter-clockwise and I really enjoy it this way! You get the tough elevation climb done first and then you can coast and enjoy the second half of the trail on the way back.

You can see the trail winding up the mountain, directly after the bridge. That’s where we’re headed!

The view looking back as we ascend.

My hiking buddy, Amanda!

It was really cool to see climbers along the entire trail!

Up, up, up!

Taking a look back on the trail and how far we’ve come!

And then we made it to the top!

My other hiking buddy, Ari! With her pup Meeka.

The entire hike is absolutely gorgeous.

At the bottom of the descent, you finish the loop by following a path (the River Trail) along the Crooked River. Keep your eyes peeled, you might see some wildlife. We were lucky enough to spot a river otter!

Happy hiking!


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