Smith Rock State Park

Written by’s Local Expert


Prepare yourself to experience some of the most magnificent rocks in the country! Considered one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, people from all over the world travel to Oregon to see this incredible natural landscape up close and experience the plethora of outdoor activities it has to offer.   

Location & Parking

Getting to Smith Rock State Park is pretty easy and self explanatory. Smith Rock State Park is located just North of the Redmond Airport, about a half hour away. Since it’s a very popular State Park, all you have to do is search for it on your GPS and the location on the map will take you straight to the parking lots!

From a couple miles away from the park, you can already start to spot the park. You will be in awe as you drive towards it, make sure to pay attention.

Upon arrival, you will want to make sure that you have purchased a Day Use Parking Pass. This will allow you to park your car in the lots until dusk when the park closes. The cost for a pass is $5 and the machines on-site take credit and debit card payments. There is no cash in the machines or accepted by them, so make sure to have a card on you. Alternatively, you can purchase a pass online and print it out prior to your arrival. 

There is a separate parking lot for RVs and Vans which comes up first on the drive along the street. Shortly after, you’ll see plenty of parking spots along the left side of the road. 

Getting Around & Amenities

Throughout the park, there are plenty of stations with announcements and a map. In addition, there are a few different port-a-potty locations throughout. The bathrooms are surprisingly well-maintained and won’t smack you in the face with odor which can definitely be the case with these types of outhouse-style bathrooms.There are a couple water fountains conveniently located throughout the park.

Further, there are accessible picnic tables, hot showers, and camping areas for your use. Keep in mind, we recommend planning well ahead for camping as it is allowed on a first-come, first-served basis.  

The Landscape

The landscape consists of towering rocks that are up to 550 feet high. There is a valley with a river running through the entirety of the park which adds a stunning contrast to the burnt orange/red rocks. There are also plenty of trees lining the hike which provides shade through most areas. 

The volcanic activity in the area (millions of years ago!), is what caused the Smith Rock landscape to take form. The ash and debris filled the area and hardened to form rock. Then, the Crooked River seeped into the valley and erosion took its course to make it the dynamic rock formation it is today.

Wildlife in the Park

Birdwatchers, biologists, and kids will especially love the wildlife that calls Smith Rock State Park home. During your visit, it’s guaranteed that you will see at least 10 different bird species. It’s also pretty common to spot golden eagles and prairie falcons as they nest here. In the river, you may see river otters and beavers! During our visit, we were fortunate to see two small, adorable river otters enjoying some shade under the large rocks in the water. If you do spot them, make sure to tell your group quickly - they are surprisingly fast swimmers and can quickly get out of sight before you can snap a pic. 

Outdoor Activities 

Smith Rock Park is truly an outdoor playground, offering countless recreational activities to enjoy! The park is popular with both locals and tourists who journey here to enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, slacklining, and rock climbing. Approved tour providers in this area do offer guided tours so depending on your activity of choice, be sure to check out providers in the area.

Hikes here vary in difficulty from very easy to very difficult. So, depending on your level of experience or desired effort, you can choose the perfect hike for you! It’s a lovely experience, choosing an easy hike and taking a leisurely stroll through the park to enjoy the scenery while still getting those steps in. 

Even for those who aren’t big outdoorsmen, making the trip to this stunning State Park is well worth it! There are various lookout points, even just from the parking lot, that will leave you breathless! 

Rules & Restrictions

  • Animals are welcome, but must be kept on a leash for their safety and the safety of others, including wildlife in the park.
  • Drones are not allowed during nesting seasons - golden eagle, prairie falcon, and raptor. Signs will clearly state the nesting seasons at the park and if they are currently in effect.
  • Campfires are not permitted at the park at any time of the year due to the high desert climate.
  • Camping is allowed on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, no reservations are allowed.

Local Tips

  • Smith Rock State Park is located just about 45 minutes North of Sunriver, closer to Bend Airport.
  • Hours vary - from dusk to dawn.
  • Day Use Permit Fee is required to park, card is accepted at the machines.
  • Drones are not allowed during certain species' mating periods.


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